Johnson City Press: Tusculum to host 'For the Love of People' exhibit starting Feb. 21
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Tusculum to host 'For the Love of People' exhibit starting Feb. 21

Contributed • Feb 21, 2019 at 8:31 AM

Tusculum University will host “For the Love of the People,” an exhibit of portraits by local artist Steve Haselroth that consist of famous people and others in his personal life, all of whom have meaningfully influenced the world.

Among the people whose portraits will be shown in the exhibit are Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Amelia Earhart, Nikola Tesla, Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri and Winston Churchill. Portraits on a personal level include Haselroth’s wife, Janet, and son, David.

“For this particular exhibit, I have assimilated a collection of individuals from our history and from personal acquaintances that have had an impact on the world around them,” Haselroth said. “In each case, decisions of selflessness have been self-imposed, sometimes leading to the ultimate sacrifice, all for the love of those around them and leading to the benefit for others. In all cases, the individuals have had value systems that deserve the admiration of others.”

Bill Bledsoe, program director and an assistant professor for Tusculum’s art program, said one of the exhibit’s key elements is that all portraits convey the same visual strength in their structure.

“The idea is that ultimately, when you look at both of them, they actually carry the same weight in intent and introspection,” Bledsoe said. “That’s a tall order, but he succeeds in bringing the same amount of visual interest to an anonymous person as it would be with someone that you know.

“There is a similarity in scale, and the paintings work well with one another because they’re roughly the same scale and they’re done in the same medium for the most part, which is water color and color pencil.”

Bledsoe said Haselroth also likes to use a lot of negative space to highlight the nuances of each subject. The portraits are generally of people from the waist to their head.

“Each individual represented at this exhibit encapsulates the modus operandi to excel in life’s challenges, ultimately enhancing his or her community,” Haselroth said.

Haselroth’s roots in the visual arts date to his childhood. He is a retired teacher who was granted the honor of Cum Laude with the Tennessee Arts Academy Alumni Association in 2015. He has also served in the Navy, including as a medical planner and acting commander, amphibious task force surgeon, aboard the USS Saipan during the onset of the Iraq War in 1991.

The exhibit will kick off Thursday, Feb. 21, with a free, public reception from 5-7 p.m. in the Clem Allison Gallery in the Shulman Center. The portraits will remain available for viewing in the gallery until Thursday, March 7.

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