Recently, while attempting to make an honest portrait of my father, and to commemorate his passing a couple years ago, I came to the sudden realization that this was why I was originally motivated to learn how to draw when I was a little boy: I longed to find a way to respond meaningfully to the human face — beyond what words could describe. I have always wanted to find a way to faithfully record the face of a person and to get at the elusive quality of real presence — the internal person, not just their appearance. I am drawn specifically to paint a face that bears its own history in the facial lines, in the color and textures, and in the unique gaze of that person. But portraying a real person — not a mere appearance — is complicated. Should my portraits evoke the sense of sitter’s melancholy, humor, unalloyed joy, suffering, perseverance, or hiddenness?
What I have found is truly surprising. The people I've painted so far are all family, and are willing to be unguarded because they trust me and want me to succeed in communicating who they are. And in a sense this is the subject of the Face to Face Exhibit: the unguarded face. Of course, the large multi-panel works — the altarpieces — are another layer to this "face to face" theme. In Christ and in Mary there is the utterly unguarded person, and in Jesus we glimpse the perfectly unguarded Person of God who gives himself away to us in his face. "Seek My face," says the Lord. "Thy face, oh Lord, shall I seek" ...and the face of others...the face of the Other, I will seek also because in honestly encountering another person, unguarded, one sees the unequalled creation of God.
Accomplishments / CV
Bruce Herman completed his B.F.A. and M.F.A. from Boston University.
He is the Lothlórien Distinguished Chair in Fine Arts at Gordon College. In 2006 he received the Boston University College of Fine Arts Alumnus of the Year award.
Recent solo exhibits include: Face to Face, which will travel to Whitworth College and College of the Ozarks; Woman/Virgin/Mother which was shown at San Paolo Monastery, Orvieto, Italy; The Barrington Center for the Arts at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts; and the Reynolds Gallery at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.
Herman’s work is included in numerous collections including: the Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; The Vatican Museums, Rome; the Cincinnati Museum of Fine Arts; Boston University; and De Cordova Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts.
He has lectured widely including: The Trinity Arts Conference, Dallas, Texas; the Palazzo dei Sette, Orvieto, Italy; Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, and the Virginia Center for Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Comment Wall (8 comments)
You need to be a member of CIVA Network to add comments!
Christmas greetings to you and your family, Bruce. For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Cor 4:6
I absolutely LOVE your work! I love how you've melded abstract and concrete forms together evoking powerful emotion in your work. Chris Brewer is a friend of mine and he showed me what you've been up to...fantastic! We went to Grand Rapids Theological Seminary around the same time.
Bruce, yes this site has enormous capacity. If you have any upcoming openings, check out the ability to post he event and even to include an image.
We sent yesterday's announcement only to members and as you will see from the CIVA website it is not yet visible to the public. Our goal is to get about 50 members signed in and then we will open it up. We are off to a good start I think.