Quick! What do the sun, the moon, ghosts, and fish have in common? They’re all objects that present aspects of LaPorte artist Gregg Hertzlieb’s personality and interests.
“Although pictures and imagery always defy words,” Hertzlieb explained, “the sun and moon could be the two sides of my personality, with the light of the sun representing a lighter state of mind and the moon representing something darker or more mysterious. The ghosts and fish refer to my interest in spirituality, evolution, and the passage of time – all things that I think about a lot.”
Spectators will have the opportunity to consider the artist’s fascinations April 6 – May 6 at the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts, 540 S. Lake St., in the Miller Beach section of Gary. That’s when the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District will present “Time Ghost: Gregg Hertzlieb,” an exhibit consisting of 30 watercolors with ink on paper, three acrylic paintings on wood, and six painted sculptures.
Hertzlieb is the director/curator of the Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind. He has a master’s degree in fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a master’s degree in education from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
He said the museum’s collection has been a great influence on his art. “I see so many styles of art each day. Each style reveals something to me about the use of a medium, the method of abstraction, the use of color. Sometimes the influences are subtle and indirect. Lately, Japanese prints in the Brauer’s collection have captured my imagination.”
An exhibiting artist working primarily in watercolor and pen & ink, Hertzlieb has pieces in both public and private collections. “I like the directness of drawing. I like to work on paper as opposed to canvas or wood, and watercolor is a nice way of applying color to paper,” he said. “I like the control, and I like black outlines. Ink has a lot of versatility and I can be meticulous with it. Each pen line I apply to the paper breathes more life into my chosen subjects. I enjoy the thrill of seeing these subjects emerge and proclaim their individual identities.”
An editor of several books, teacher, and essayist, the artist is also an avid traveler and collector of art, antiques, fossils, toys, and comic books. “I collect superhero comics from the 1970s and old toys of various kinds ranging from space toys to colorful and kitschy plastic banks,” Hertzlieb said. “I like the primary colors a lot and so am drawn to stylized, colorful toys from the 1960s, 1970s, even earlier if I see something I like at a flea market or antique shop.”
He added that all of these interests have been inspirational to his art, which takes him on a “quirky, surreal journey of self-discovery.”
“Every time I make a picture, I learn about myself,” he said. “I gather ideas in my sketchbook and don’t really question why I’m drawn to a subject or compositional approach at the time. Later on, when I look at the things I’ve made, I get a glimmer of the motivation or life circumstance that led to my making the picture – but, for the most part, I just do what seems right, then the subconscious attitudes rise to the surface and reveal themselves – although, as I mentioned earlier, not in a way that’s always easy to articulate precisely through words.”
Viewers can view the exhibit “Time Ghost: Gregg Hertzlieb” from Friday, April 6 – Sunday, May 6 at the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts, 540 S. Lake St., Gary, IN. An Opening Reception for the artist will take place Saturday, April 7 from 6-9 p.m., with an Artist Talk at 7:30 p.m. Gallery hours are Fridays and Saturdays 6-9pm and Sundays 1-4pm. Exhibit is free and open to the public. Miller Beach Arts & Creative District is a non-profit organization with a mission of the arts as a catalyst for economic rejuvenation.
For more information, visit millerbeacharts.org
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