I just love meeting new people, don’t you? This past Thursday night I met a bunch of riveting new people — or composites of people — created by painter George Herman. I interviewed Herman last year for Talking Writing. His landscapes and paintings of dogs, houses, and people, drew me in and sparked my imagination.
This new series, which he describes as “realistic portraits of imaginary people,” exemplifies what can happen when an artist shows up for work day after day, year after year. That combination of wisdom, regular practice, and ever-growing technique takes the results to a whole new level. Herman may have entered his sixth decade, but his light is only getting brighter.
His starting point for the series was a face with an interesting structure that he saw in a newspaper ad. From there, he took photos from a variety of sources, played with them on the computer, changing, for example, the tilt of a nose, chin, or mouth, and creating a completely new face. The hair of Shalom Aleichem launched one portrait.
These faces may remind the viewer of someone they know. “Girl 2,” for example, with her red lips and dark hair could be my mother. (These photos don’t do the work justice.)
And I found “Woman 5” just plain intriguing. Who is she? A singer? A dancer?
Herman creates characters with paint the same way a writer creates them with words. As he notes in his statement, “The process of painting, scraping, painting, and scraping continues until the head, the face, the expression, the light fall into place. And they become who they are.”
To see Herman’s exhibit, “Mans and Other” visit Albright Art gallery & supply in Concord, Mass.