UC Artist Touches on a Distant People,
Date: Oct. 10, 2002
Brings the World Closer to Home
Story by: Mary Bridget Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Archive: General News
Photo by: Frank Herrmann
Cincinnati - Most of the time, UC Professor of Art Frank Herrmann lives, teaches and creates in Cincinnati. Yet, his inspiration comes from a culture and a place far removed from the American heartland, and once completed, his paintings take on a life of their own to travel and exhibit around the world, from Europe to Asia.
Soon, Herrmann's most recent work will be displayed in Cincinnati's Linda Schwartz Gallery starting Oct. 25.
In his current "Thinking" series of colorful, abstract, large-scale, acrylic paintings, Herrmann, a faculty member is UC's prestigious College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), reflects on the world's last stone-age culture, the Asmat people of New Guinea in the far-western Pacific. His paintings explore the woodcarvings, motifs, and myths of the culture and often include rubbings from Asmat warrior shields with fruit bat motifs. The shields are typical of Asmat art, as are masks and spears often used ritual ceremonies and observation.
"I have the shields in order to touch something they have touched. I've also made a woodcut from a blown-up Internet picture of a...shield that has a water motif. Having touched the carved motifs, I can invest them into my paintings, and hope they touch other people," said Herrmann who, in the act of making tracings and rubbings of Asmat ceremonial art and then incorporating them into his own work, is serving as a translator seeking to communicate what is universal in diverse human cultures.
Six large paintings, about 7-feet square, as well as eight smaller works, will be exhibited in a one-man show titled "Frank Herrmann" Oct. 25-Nov. 27 in the Linda Schwartz Gallery, 315 W. Fourth St., downtown.
Another large-scale work, titled "Cimelice THINKING: Wowipits and Brazza Baroque," is included in the 2002 Contemporary Artists Federation exhibit at the Saitama Modern Art Museum in Japan. The exhibit, to open in December, includes 100 Japanese artists and only 20 invited artists from other countries. That exhibit will result in a book that will also include Herrmann's work.
Other works by Herrmann can be found in public, private and corporate collections. One painting is in the collection of the Foundation and Center for Contemporary Art in Prague. He is also exhibiting at Utah's Weber State University in a show titled "A Spellbound Vision: Viewing Asmat Art Through the Eyes of the Contemporary Western Artist" through Oct. 12.
Herrmann's work has been supported by an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship of $10,000, and an OAC Project Grant of $3,300.
The Linda Schwartz Gallery is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Friday, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday. For more information, call the gallery at 513-241-4202.