For the Motion show at Beyond the Lines, Dina Herrmann’s abstracts were on the wall along the back of the gallery. I stared at the three biggest and decided on a favorite.
In the middle of the gallery, by the tale of hors d’oevres, was a man with a deep voice and a European accent I couldn’t place. His name was Rafael Serrano.
I was trying to get out of the conversation (Serrano had this way of taking over the discussion, keeping me in, and sort of blocking the path back to Herrmann’s works).
He said he was an artist too.
“What’s your art like,” I said. “What kind of art do you make?”
“I don’t make anything on purpose,” he said, pouring me a full cup of red, red wine. “Until I start, and then the purpose comes out.”
This guy was awesome. Like, totally awesome. Colossally boastful, without giving any specific information. He did manage to mention that he had a successful career going for him about twenty years ago, then he crashed and burned.
“Look me up,” he said pouring me another extremely full cup of wine. “I’ve been written up in the L.A. newspaper seven times!”
Dina came by the table and hung out for a bit. Serrano spoke glowingly of her and her works tonight. She and I got stuck there, gravitationally attracted to the conversation and barely able to pull away or contribute. Herrmann is from New York, and until a week ago lived in downtown L.A.
“This is my life,” Herrmann said, gesturing at the paintings. I managed to steal her away for a second. “That one is me and my brother,” she said.
“It’s anger and rage and terror and anxiety.”
The figures look like Italian Futurism, blocky blurry figures with their sense of movement amplified. The blur makes you think of the passage of time, even just a few seconds, and adds a very special kind of depth to the painting.
Earlier in her career, Herrmann, painted geometric forms, solid contours. For this show, she went back and re-worked those old paintings. She added white — in effect, removing elements from the work — and blurred those contours. This added kinetic energy and dynamism.