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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Making and Breaking: Art, Hospitality and Eucharist

Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

QU4ARTETS No. 1 Spring

QU4RTETS No.1 (Spring) from a series in response to T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets
Oil on wood with 23kt gold and silver leaf
97” x 60”

Bruce Herman
Gordon College

Date: Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Time: 5:30-7:00 PM
Location: Devlin 101


Abstract: The process of “breaking” is at least as important as making, according to the artist and educator, Bruce Herman. Central to his artistic process is a willingness to risk loss of the image in pursuit of the most fitting and poignant expression. The Christian sacrament of the Eucharist is pivotal to Herman's own self-understanding as an artist. “This is My body, broken for you,” spoken by Christ before his betrayal and execution is a watchword. There is a costliness to the creative process that echoes this most costly of human deeds — laying down one’s life for one’s friends. Artists routinely expose their heart, their inmost self to scrutiny by others in hopes that visual meaning might be shared. This vulnerability is at the heart of the artistic act, and that necessarily involves a personal loss and breaking even as something new comes into being. The artist, like the one who invites the other into her dwelling place in an act of hospitality, welcomes the viewer to be judge and jury, and this central risk is where the meaning begins. Without this risk there is no meaning. Join Herman as he delivers a slide talk on his personal studio process and theological framework. 

Bruce Herman

Bruce Herman (American, b. 1953) is a painter and educator living and working in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Herman holds the Lothlórien Distinguished Chair in Fine Arts at Gordon College where he has taught and curated exhibitions since 1984. He completed both undergraduate and graduate fine arts degrees at Boston University College of Fine Arts with graduate work under Philip Guston and James Weeks; he completed undergraduate work with David Aronson, Reed Kay and Arthur Polonsky.

Herman lectures widely and has published work in many books, journals, and popular magazines, most recently in Through Your Eyes (Wm. B. Eerdman Books). His artwork has been exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions in eleven major cities including Boston, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

His work has been exhibited internationally, including in Kings College Chapel, Cambridge University; Hong Kong University; Palazzo Dei Sette in Orvieto, Italy; in Canada, Israel, and Japan. Herman’s art is featured in many public and private collections including the Vatican Museum of Modern Religious Art in Rome; the Cincinnati Museum of Fine Arts; DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts; the Hammer Museum, Grunwald Print Collection, Los Angeles; the Cape Ann Museum and in many university galleries throughout the United States and Canada.

More information about Herman and a gallery of his art can be found at:

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In the News

A December 2015 article published by the Minnesota Public Radio explores how some Minnesotan artists incorporate their faith in their work. According to the MPR piece, "Faith can reveal the art of even the most mundane activities ... [and can] transform views shaped by religion." Local artist Hend Al Mansour writes, "My art speaks to my spirituality in trying to affirm [the] justice and the quality between genders." On February 17, painter and educator Bruce Herman will speak to the power of spirituality in his work at an evening lecture at the Boisi Center.