Nino Mier Gallery is pleased to present Keramik, an exhibition of ceramics by Los Angeles-based artist Roger Herman. The artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, Keramik will include selection of ceramic vessels developed over the course of the last 20 years. The exhibition will be on view in West Hollywood from February 11 – March 11, with an opening reception on Saturday, February 11 from 5-8pm.
Herman is well known for his polyphonous orchestrations of color and form spanning ceramics, painting, and other mediums. Herman’s vessels – the focus of this exhibition – emerge from his appreciation of imperfection and incompleteness. Each ceramic teems with energy produced by the tensions between virtuosity and crudeness, beauty and asymmetry, power and awkwardness.
Beginning his process with wheel-thrown clay forms that are stacked or cut, Herman’s pots are often irregular, some including spontaneous voids or protrusions. Then, the artist paints vibrant, quickly applied, expressionistic compositions beneath glossy glazes that cultivate a haptic sensuality. The vessels – which range from small, handheld teacups to exceptionally tall or wide vases – change drastically as they are circumambulated. Paint drips, glazes crackle, and inlaid incisions groove across surfaces at irregular intervals. The kiln is Herman’s maverick collaborator: each form manifests Herman’s ceaseless experimentation with the possibilities of color, texture, material, process, and form.
From painterly abstraction to manga, ukiyo-e, erotica, memento mori, surrealism and parietal art, imagery and gestures are appropriated and re-worked on Herman’s ceramic surfaces. Another important touchstone for the artist, Lucio Fontana’s ceramics cultivate a psychedelic maximalism which Herman harnesses through his unique thematic and formal investments. Drawn to the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, Herman honors irregularity, roughness, and transformation as he works with clay and undergoes the firing and glazing processes.
At the Academy of Fine Arts, Karlsruhe, Herman earned a traditional education in painting. Until the late 90s, he primarily painted on canvas, influenced by the work of Richard Diebenkorn other painters from California, where he moved in 1977. Expressionistic, naïveish figuration and abstraction was the linchpin of Herman’s practice until a student of his at UCLA taught him how to throw – an experience which proved foundational to his enduring investment in the ceramic medium.
An instinctual relationship to color and composition guides Herman's work, which expands into mediums such as paintings on canvas, drawings, books, and woodcut prints. For Keramik, Herman produced a series of hand-printed posters to accompany his suite of ceramics.
Roger Herman (b. 1947, Saarbruecken, DE; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA) holds an MFA from the Akademie der Kuenste, Karlsruhe, DE. Herman taught at UCLA for over 30 years, serving as head of the Painting and Drawing department for many years. His impact on the UCLA Art Department and the Los Angeles art world is vast; from 1998 – 2008, he co-ran (with Hubert Schmalix) Black Dragon Society, a gallery in Chinatown that launched the careers of many young artists. Herman was the recipient of two National Endowment of the Arts Fellowships and a DAAD grant. His recent solo exhibitions include Louis Lefebvre Galerie, Paris, FR; Sorry We're Closed, Brussels, BE; Praz Delavallande, Los Angeles, CA; Carpenters Workshop Gallery, New York, NY and London, UK; Hunter College, New York, NY; Jack Hanley Gallery, New York, NY; and Gestaad, CH, among many others. Public collections include LACMA, Los Angeles, US; MOCA, Los Angeles, US; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, US; and MoMA, New York, NY, US.