For the past several years, Adriane Herman has taken artistic inspiration from her collection of over 1000 found, gifted, and bartered "to do" lists, re-presenting these scraps of paper on a significantly larger scale in a variety of media, from inlaid burnishing clay panels; screenprints; photo-etchings; embossments; vinyl decals; to virtually any mediated medium. This re-creation of other people's list reveals, to her, certain universal aspects of humanity, such as our common need for food, shelter, water, human companionship, entertainment, and -- in most cultures -- toilet paper. Herman's unique and editioned objects trace the trajectory from intention to action, highlighting and monumentalizing the tasks that vie for our time, energy, and attention.
Since lists are generally written with the self in mind as intended reader, they embody honest, unfiltered documentation of what humans today are doing (or at least intending to do) with our most precious resources of time, energy, and attention. Forces such as advertising are still in play, as manifest by the prevalence of brand loyalty in many of the thousand plus lists I have collected. However, by and large, sifting through these intimate yet anonymous documents of human aspirations, procrastinations, and accomplishments both large and small reveal us to be -- depending on your perspective -- reassuringly individualized or damnably idiosyncratic, despite shared experience and struggles.
Anchoring the show, her third with Western Exhibitions, will be "Coping Mechanics," an ink-jet print stitched together from nine photographs that measures 16.25 x 70 inches. It depicts nine of the most personal and revelatory, even voyeuristic, lists in Herman's collection, each of which directly or indirectly reveals its writer trying to deal with something challenging. Some of these are quite literal and self-explanatory, while others operate more abstractly and suggestively when taken out of context. "Dually Noted" is a wallpaper installation created collaboratively with Brian Reeves, which consists of a grid of ink-jet reproductions of lists from Herman's vast archive. Other works in the show re-present individual lists, such as "Home," a lithograph that utilizes the transparency of Japanese paper to "note" the contents of both front and back of a hand-written list of items the writer wished to retrieve from his mother's house after she passed away. The screenprint "Passion Aggression" counters with humor, valorizing a mother's enumerated list of tasks her offspring had better accomplish "or else" - signed "Have a nice day. Love, Mom."
Adriane Herman's recent solo shows include the Kansas City Jewish Museum of Contemporary Art; Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan; Weymouth Mercantile in Nova Scotia; Ulrich Museum of Art in Wichita, Kansas; and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport, Maine. Recent group shows include A+D Gallery at Columbia College Chicago; International Print Center in New York City; Adam Baumgold Gallery in NYC; the Portland Museum of Art in Maine; and the The Dalarnas Museum, in Falun, Sweden, among several others. Her print portfolio, "Sticky Situations" was recently written about by Susan Tallman in Art in Print. Herman's work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of Art, Adobe Systems in San Francisco, Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, the Herbert F Johnson Museum of American Art in Ithaca, New York, the Progressive Corporation in Cleveland, and several other collections. Herman has lectured at over fifty institutions and lives and works in Portland, Maine.