This week, I’m featuring a painter I met this summer at the C. S. Lewis Summer Institute (www.cslewis.org) at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Bruce Herman (www.brucehermanonline.com), currently Professor of Art at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, lectures widely and has had work published in many books, journals, and popular magazines. He completed both undergraduate and graduate fine arts degrees at Boston University School for the Arts. He studied under Philip Guston, James Weeks, David Aronson, and Reed Kay. Bruce’s artwork has been exhibited in over 55 exhibitions in eleven major cities including Boston, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, and has been shown in five different countries, including England, Italy, Russia, Canada, and Israel. His work is housed in many public and private collections including the Vatican Museum of Modern Religious Art in Rome; the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts; and the Armand Hammer Museum at the University of California in Los Angeles.
LeAnne: When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Bruce: I had intimations that I was made for making art at an early age — my guess is that I had a fairly definitely sense of this at around six years old. My very earliest memories are all strongly visual, and my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and teachers all commented regularly that I was an artist and had a “vivid” or “wild” imagination. Of course, they may have simply been kind and really meant that I was crazy. I also remember many times during childhood, and since becoming an adult, that beauty has been able to move me to tears, to ecstatic feelings, to a sense of the numinous. I’ve always felt that I wanted to share those feelings — to communicate these things to others — particularly the intuitions about God... and about beauty being at the core of God’s self-disclosure to me.
LM: Tell me about A Broken Beauty.
BH: A Broken Beauty (www.abrokenbeauty.com) is a book and an exhibition I initiated that brought together fourteen other artists, four art historians, and a number of museum curators in a collaborative undertaking centered on the connections to be discovered between the human body, brokenness as a spiritual and physical reality, and beauty. The initial impulse to do this was the desire to see if any other artists were thinking about these connections. My own Christian faith centers on the Eucharist — Christ’s broken body as a locus of true beauty, despite the apparent “ugliness” and horror of that brokenness. The book that resulted from the project was published by Eerdmans (http://www.eerdmans.com/shop/product.asp?p_key=0802828183) and contains a number of fine interpretive and analytic essays on both the historical precedents for this project and about the art and artists of A Broken Beauty.
More from Bruce Herman on Thursday.