LA><ART Gallery Two
Sitting in his filth he began to build his palace, bit by bit. It began as a kind of syncopated song cycle, rolling over the most prominent of memories, sing songing in that unpolished and unencumbered voice that belongs to every lonely kid in the backyard — the secret voice children save for themselves. Lilting, punctuated only by the distractions of the words themselves, so foreign, not their meaning. He lay there in his cocoon chanting...
-Excerpt from Nick Herman’s novella, FATLAND
LA><ART is pleased to present FATLAND, the first Los Angeles solo exhibition of Los Angeles-based artist Nick Herman that will encompass a new body of photographs and sculptures as well as his first novella — a humorous account of a man who has been buried alive.
Herman has a long-standing interest in the way language reflects extreme religious values and a culture’s sublimated fantasies. In his publication FATLAND, Herman exploits his dyspeptic protagonist’s litany of complaints, including impotence, immobility, and memory loss. The work investigates the concepts of evolution and happiness, drawing parallels between subjects as diverse as the Dionysian mysteries, liposuction, and contemporary art. The artist invests these themes with gravitas and absurdity, both in the book and in the gallery, where he will present works that are perversely aesthetic. Evoking Jeff Koons and Marcel Duchamp, his kinetic pump sculpture The Myth of the Sexes measures the shifting levels of desire between two unknown subjects.
In addition, Herman's hand-tied nets and black-and-white photographs of lard create abstract landscapes of surprising beauty. The artist’s interest in “fat” is a play on the Biblical aphorism “ye shall eat of the fat of the land.” It is in the context of this metaphorical admonition to be fruitful and consume that Herman exploits fat’s allegorical connotations. His photos depicting fat as landscape allude to the conflict between decay and nourishment. The artist will also be showing a collection of small plaster sculptures that function as musical instruments that the artist encourages visitors to play. These lumpen flutes actually incorporate the plastic “predator” calls game hunters use to mimic the sounds of animals in heat or distress, thereby filling the gallery with grunts and whimpers.
Herman’s explorations into taboo, instability, and the grotesque operate within a sardonic critique of human progress and what he satirically refers to as the manic quest for a “lost paradise.” By exploiting the heavy handed metaphors of religion, sexual desire, and impotence, the artist skillfully plays with literary clichés and caricatures including "erotic writing,” the “Faust legend," and the trope of being buried alive as a metaphor for madness, depression, and death.
Herman’s novella FATLAND will be available for purchase for $1 in an unnumbered edition of 500.
Nick Herman is an artist and writer based in Los Angeles. His work has been exhibited in group shows at Cherry and Martin in Los Angeles, CA and Peter Blum in New York, NY, as well as at SculptureCenter and Socrates Sculpture Park, New York, NY, and Portugal Arte in Lisbon. Herman holds an MFA in sculpture from Yale University and a BA in Religious Studies from Macalester College. Also a designer and publisher since 2003, Herman has produced independent artist books under the imprint ANTEPROJECTS. He is a 2011 artist-in-residence at The Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas.