Czech It Out: Artist and Teacher
Date: July 26, 2001
Sets Up Studio in Bohemian Castle
Story by: Mary Bridget Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Archive: General News
UC painter Frank Herrmann, professor of fine art in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, is using his summer to help his art grow and change during a prestigious artist-in-residence program overseas. Herrmann will live and work with an international group of 11 other artists in a Baroque castle set in the town of Cimelice in the Czech Republic from July 31-Oct. 2.
"I've never painted away from my own space. I know that I and my work will change and be reinvented. That's the whole purpose of the residency and communal living," explained Herrmann.
The artist-in-residence program began in 1999 and has included artists from throughout Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, South America and the U.S. working in a variety of media, including performance art, painting, film and photography, literature, and sculpture. It is sponsored by the Foundation and Center for Contemporary Art in Prague; however, the residency itself is held in a small, historical village. The artists live in Cimelice castle which was built in 1728-1730.
While working, the artists are expected to exchange ideas and share experiences that reflect their culture and countries of origin. They're also expected to display their work to the citizens of Cimelice, which has a population of about 1,000, said Herrmann.
In addition to packing his Cincinnati studio into two suitcases, Herrmann will be packing a love of painting going strong after decades. "After 35 years of painting, I'm still excited...I like the touch, the smell and the substance of paint. I love the possibility of fantasy, illusion. For me, the most exciting painting is the painting I haven't yet made, those problems I haven't yet solved...I know that one really never learns how to paint. For me, each painting is a mistake, asking a question that points toward the possibility of the next painting."
Herrmann's stay is funded by the Ohio Arts Council. He is also the recipient of additional grants from the Ohio Arts Council: a $10,000 Individual Artist Fellowship and an OAC Project Grant of $3,500. He has also received a $3,000 Summerfair Individual Artist Grant.
His work - colorful, abstract images - will likely continue to focus on the people, culture and myths of New Guinea. He's explored this subject for many months now after receiving a book on New Guinea's indigenous cultures from his son, an anthropologist. "I read that book, and I was hooked," confided Herrmann. "I've learned more and more about the culture and how it changed since contact with the West...Of course," he adds, "I don't know how the contacts I'll make in the Czech Republic will change my work, but I'm sure they will."