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

Staff Show 2013: Julia Kwon

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!

Julia Kwon’s abstract paintings are inspired by the act of mark-making; she invents new spaces with expressive brushstrokes. She has received many awards, including Joseph S. Lepgold Phi Beta Kappa and the AAUW’s poster competition: Celebrating Women’s Voice in Politics and Art.  She was also selected by the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS) for the Integrative Arts Fellowship.

Julia Kwon, Untitled, 2013, Oil on canvas

Julia Kwon, Untitled, 2013, Oil on canvas

What do you do at The Phillips Collection? 

I’m a museum assistant at The Phillips Collection.

Who are your favorite artists in the collection?

My favorite artists are Mark Rothko, Vincent van Gogh, and Richard Diebenkorn. I admire these artists for their clear vision, expressiveness, and emotional content.

What is your favorite gallery space within The Phillips Collection?

My favorite gallery is the Rothko Room. The room’s dim lighting not only adds to the depth and resonance of the colors, but also creates a comforting space for viewers to really experience the art.

What would you like people to know about your art and process?

I take pleasure in being present and making creative decisions.  Mark-making has been my biggest inspiration as it creates a series of actions-and-reactions between me and my paintings.  This state of flux provides opportunities for experimentation and discovery; it allows the paintings to intricately and continuously evolve and expand.  Lyrical, intertwined marks gradually emerge from my belief in continuous growth in life and my realization of the complex interdependence between all things.  Through painting, I create my own story with new meaning and space that not only intrigues me visually, but also moves me internally.

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

Staff Show 2013: Laurel Simon

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!

A DC resident all of his life, Laurel Simon has lived around the urban lifestyle. After graduating Drew University with a Bachelor’s in Studio Art, he left with a heightened sense of the creative world around him. He is committed to art, with a focal point of oil on canvas paintings. Laurel relies on sneakers as the subject and portrays them in any fashion; be it on canvas, wood, or even as alternative sculpture. His priority is to complete narratives with sneakers, which come in all shapes, colors, and sizes and tell their own stories. In doing so, he hopes to display sneakers as an important part of not only urban fashion, but our lives.

Laurel Simon, AirMax: left.for.dead, 2013, Oil on canvas

Laurel Simon, AirMax: left.for.dead, 2013, Oil on canvas

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 work as a Museum Assistant. The job requires an extensive application of how to navigate through the building. Once that is mastered, the job becomes more enjoyable; each “building” is its own world, each “floor” is its own island.

Who is/are your favorite artist/artists in the collection?

Edgar Degas is one I favor strongly; his Study Dance Rehearsal piece on view currently is a small yet detailed piece of work with a simple narrative. That and his other works of the dance make him a fine artist to focus on and learn about.

What is your favorite gallery or space within The Phillips Collection?

The Armory show features classic work from those of the avant-garde. That, paired with the Laib Wax Room, makes this area my favorite.

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2013 Staff Show (and/or your work in general)?

AirMax: left.for.dead is a piece I completed early this year. My idea was to add a narrative to a subject I mainly focus on: sneakers (shoes or “kicks”). My goal was to make the viewer fully interpret the scene; did someone high-tail it out of there, leaving behind some prized possessions? Was this person stranded on an island and found solace in an escape? Does this symbolize what we all go though in life: leaving something and moving on? I hope that people discuss with themselves what they think the motive in the story is as they look at the myriad of colors, the cel-shaded motif, hints of Cubism, Impressionism, and the emphasis on a popular brand of footwear.

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