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Roger Herman

Roger Herman is an artist based in Los Angeles, renowned for his innovative work in ceramics, painting and various other mediums.  

Born to a French father and a German mother, Herman initially studied law before transitioning to the arts, eventually studying painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe. 

Herman’s artistic journey took a significant turn after he received a DAAD grant from Germany, leading to his relocation to California in 1977. At the age of 30, Herman immersed himself in the vibrant California art scene, which greatly influenced his subsequent work.  

He has since become well-known for his polyphonous orchestrations of colour and form, embracing imperfection and incompleteness in his creations. Herman’s ceramic vessels illustrate his appreciation for these qualities. Beginning with wheel-thrown clay forms that are often irregular and feature spontaneous voids or protrusions, he applies vibrant, quickly executed expressionistic compositions beneath glossy glazes. This process results in pieces that exude energy, highlighting his ceaseless experimentation with colour, texture, material, process and form. 

Influenced by a range of imagery and gestures, from painterly abstraction to manga, ukiyo-e, erotica, memento mori, surrealism and parietal art, Herman’s ceramics are dynamic and multifaceted. He also draws inspiration from Lucio Fontana’s psychedelic maximalism and the Japanese aesthetic of “wabi-sabi”, which values irregularity, roughness and transformation. 

Herman’s work extends beyond ceramics to include paintings on canvas, drawings, books and woodcut prints. His instinctual relationship to colour and composition is evident across all these mediums.  

Herman’s impact on the art world is also marked by his long teaching career at UCLA, where he led the Painting and Drawing department for many years. From 1998 to 2008, he co-ran the Black Dragon Society gallery in Chinatown, which played a crucial role in launching the careers of numerous young artists. He has also received two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and a DAAD grant. His recent solo exhibitions include shows at Nino Mier Gallery in Los Angeles, Louis Lefebvre Galerie in Paris, Sorry We’re Closed in Brussels, Carpenters Workshop Gallery in New York and London, and Jack Hanley Gallery in New York.

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