Haynes Galleries presents “Seth Haverkamp’s Magical Portraits”
August 22 to September 28, 2019

FRANKLIN— Fresh from winning the biggest award of his career, Seth Haverkamp is bringing his latest portraits to Haynes Galleries for a new exhibition. The show will include multiple paintings fresh from the easel of Haverkamp’s studio and privately commissioned portraits to be seen in public for the first time. “Seth Haverkamp’s Magical Portraits” will open August 22 and continue until September 28, 2019 at Haynes Galleries, just outside of Nashville.

For years now Seth Haverkamp of Norris, Tennessee has been creating portraits and figurative paintings that have left viewers awe-struck. Filled with color, imagination, and whimsy, the paintings are a stylistic revolution in contemporary realist portraiture. They feature an extremely high level of craftsmanship as well as the encapsulation of mood and personality that most exemplary portraiture has.

But what has set— and continues to set— Haverkamp and his portraits apart from the crowded field is a spark. It’s an intangible, nearly indescribable feature. It’s the vivid auburn hair of a young woman, the highlights in her tousled tresses complementing her clear blue eyes as they stare out at the viewer. It’s the magic of floating particles that glow as they surround a young boy.

One of the new paintings is Mars Rising which earned Haverkamp the biggest award of his career so far. In April, the Portrait Society of America awarded Mars Rising, a portrait of Haverkamp's son playing with a garland of paper cranes their highest honor— the Draper Grand Prize. Of the portrait Haverkamp says “it morphed into playing with the underlying theme of peace and how that concept seems impossible to realize.”

“Every time I see a new painting from Seth, it astounds me. He creates paintings that are so imaginative and so rich. They are filled with emotion, feeling, and drama. He stretches the realm of the portrait to a narrative that commands attention and tells a story. He is a magician with light, mood, and color. He is a super star and he just keeps getting better and better. To see him now receive the recognition he so truly deserves, including the Portrait Society of America grand prize, is thrilling.”

In this latest crop of colorful portraits, Haverkamp has played with the idea of reflections. Mars Rising revealed the boy’s back with a full-length mirror. Reflections of the Self, another portrait of one of his children— one of his daughters— holds a paintbrush and a small decorative mirror in the shape of a fish. This time the reflection the viewer sees is the artist himself deep in concentration.

When asked if he’s exploring different themes or ideas in these new paintings, Haverkamp lets out a little laugh. “I just love portraits,” he says. “It’s either a pleasing image or its not. It’s about the subject and the light.”

When pressed he admits he’s pushing his technique wherever he can by layering strong colors directly on the canvas, by contrasting warm and cool light, and painting larger sections of flesh like in the nude Walking the Tight Rope.

Attempting new ideas can be difficult especially for an artist as busy as Haverkamp. Between multiple private commissions a year and sold out workshops including one upcoming in Knoxville and another in Nashville September 19-21st, he makes sure to carve out time for new things.

What the next crop of Haverkamp portraits will reveal we cannot be sure. But this latest group of spellbinding paintings are enthralling in their own right.