Staff Show 2013: Michelle Lisa Herman

In this series, Young Artists Exhibitions Program Coordinator Emily Bray profiles participants in the 2013 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show. Join us for the Staff Show reception on October 10, from 5:30 to 8 pm.

michelle lisa herman_carnivale

Michelle Lisa Herman, Carnivale, 2013, Sumi ink and acrylic on mylar with a paper

Michelle Lisa Herman is an interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Washington, DC. She graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2008 with a BFA in general fine art and art history. Her work spans a variety of media, from abstract painting to interactive installation, often exploring ideas of communication and a desire for connection in the digital age. She has exhibited her work nationally in a variety of spaces including the Smithsonian Institution International Gallery, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, DC Arts Center, Artisphere, and the Washington Project for the Arts. Michelle Lisa Herman is a member of the Sparkplug artist collective sponsored by the DC Arts Center.

What do you do at The Phillips Collection? Are there any unique or interesting parts about your job that most people might not know about?
I am the Digital Media Manager. One of the most interesting parts of my job is how it ends up overlapping with my art—sometimes I’ll be researching something for a piece and think of how it could be used at the Phillips or vice versa. I think being an artist has helped with a lot of larger projects as I have grown pretty skilled at seeing how individual, disparate elements will all come together.

Who are your favorite artists in the collection?
Two of my favorite artists in our collection are Odilon Redon and Francis Bacon.

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2013 Staff Show?
In my paintings I explore the essence of chance using a technique of painting called ‘decalcomania.’ By pressing ink or paint between two surfaces and then pulling them apart, I am able to create complex fractal patterns that upon deeper observation can take on a variety of interpretations—from mountainous landscapes to mythical creatures. I am fascinated with this method of painting as it allows me to remove the artist’s hand from a material that compels it.

The 2013 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show will be on view September 23, 2013 through October 20, 2013. The show features artwork from Phillips Collection staff.

Emily Bray, Young Artists Exhibitions Program Coordinator

A Surprise Around Every Corner

A new permanent collection installation greeted visitors to the Phillips last week right when they walked through the double glass doors into the galleries. What’s on view? A 1960 sculpture by Alberto Giacometti, a 1952 painting by Francis Bacon, a 2001 photograph by James Casebere, and a 1988 sculpture by Juan Hamilton. This group of works will remain on view throughout the winter.

(works in the permanent collection from left) Francis Bacon, Study of a Figure in a Landscape, 1952; Alberto Giacometti, Monumental Head, 1960; James Casebere, Yellow Hallway #2, 2001; Juan Hamilton, Bruja, 1988. Photo: Joshua Navarro

(works in the permanent collection from left) Francis Bacon, Study of a Figure in a Landscape, 1952; Alberto Giacometti, Monumental Head, 1960; James Casebere, Yellow Hallway #2, 2001; Juan Hamilton, Bruja, 1988. Photo: Joshua Navarro

The Artist Sees Differently: Michelle Lisa Herman

Michelle Lisa Herman, Digital Media Manager

Photo: Michelle Lisa Herman

How did you learn about the Phillips?

Well, I guess I first learned about The Phillips Collection in high school in Fort Lauderdale, FL, at the Dillard Center for the Arts, when I took AP Art History. I was familiar with some of the works in The Phillips Collection that I would come across in my textbooks, though I didn’t get to actually visit until I started college at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. My friends and I would make pilgrimages here as often as we could to see exhibitions at The Phillips Collection and other museums in the area.

Do you feel you are inspired by the Phillips art?

Just being surrounded by thousands of works of art is inspiring in itself, but the energy that The Phillips Collection has makes it an even more enjoyable experience as an artist.

What do you listen to as you create?

I usually would say my “Trinity”: Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco, and Björk. But lately, Björk has been taking the lead. I also listen to a good amount of indie, electronica, and foreign pop. Continue reading “The Artist Sees Differently: Michelle Lisa Herman” »