Art, // November 11, 2016
Frank Herrmann — ARTIST
Interview with artist Frank Herrmann —
1. Who are you and what do you do?
I am the older of two sons born to a homemaker mother and an auto mechanic father from Westmont, New Jersey, and the first person in my family to graduate from college. I received a B.A. in painting from Western Kentucky University in 1969 and an MFA in painting at the University of Cincinnati in 1972 under the mentorship of Robert Knipschild. I taught in the Art Department at Western Michigan University 1972-73. I began teaching undergraduate and graduate painting in the School of Art, College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) at the University of Cincinnati in 1973 until my retirement in 2014. I am currently a Professor of Fine Art, Emeritus.
My works have been exhibited regionally, nationally and internationally and are held in numerous private and corporate collections. I have been awarded university research grants in 1982, 1983, 1991 and 1999, local artist fellowships 1993, Ohio Arts Council (OAC) Grants in 1983, 1986, and 2001, Ohio Arts Council Project Grant in 2001 and an Arts Midwest Fellowship NEA in 1990. I was awarded an OAC sponsored two-month residency at Castle Cimelice in Cimelice, Czech Republic in 2001, hosted by the Foundation and Center for Contemporary Art in Prague. One of the paintings produced during my time as a resident artist in the Czech Republic, Thinking: Fumeripits and the Brazza Baroque, is now in the permanent collection of the Foundation and Center for Contemporary Art in Prague.
In 2006 I received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in recognition for my painting. My work has been included in one-person and group exhibitions. Most recently I was in residence at The Studios residency at MASSMoCA, N. Adams,
2. Why art?
Early on, possibly just after my first year of college, I realized I had to work with my hands.
3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
I think there was a moment, in my junior year as an art major in college, when I made a deep commitment toward life as an artist.
4. What are your favorite subject(s) and media(s)?
I am landscape oriented. And, as soon as I say that it conjures up a bucolic scene, but I like to think of the landscape with the term terrain. This allows for more conceptual possibilities than the typically imagined bucolic landscape. The current work is suggestive of landscape or terrain and is an abstraction of my experiences in witnessing phenomenon such as light, color, smell, texture, sound and the persistence of the landscape
5. How do you work and approach your subject?
I produce a lot of small works, drawings, small watercolors, notes and sometimes-small collages to push ideas for the work. I think it is important to keep the view of the possibilities in terms of resources and references for the visual language employed in the paintings as open as possible in terms of forms, spaces, color, substance and believability.
6. What are your favorite art work(s), artist(s)?
Any work that makes me think and come back to for another look. I’m drawn to any works by Marsden Hartley, Mary Heilmann, Elizabeth Murray, John Walker, Philip Wofford, Per Kirkeby and too many more to list.
7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
There have been a wide range of response over the years, but recently I was in a curated abstraction exhibition and the director of the art center related to me that many of the other artists in the show were excited to be showing with me. Almost embarrassing!
8. What do you like about your work?
What I like about my work is that I still have ideas, sometimes too many, the ability to resource information, visual or from a myriad of sources to add to the painting vocabulary and think about how to push the possibilities of the paintings.
9. What advice would you give to other artists?
Never wait for the great idea or wait for the perfect moment when the work has stalled. You have to work through those moments, that maybe depressing but just keep working.
10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Hopefully, I will find myself still upright, worrying about the paintings and still pushing them. I’m am still pursuing representation, funding, outlets and venues for my work.