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One of several exciting discoveries in this show is Gerald Herrmann, whose powerful paintings on burlap sacks mounted on canvas stretchers combine elements of lyrical expressionism and tachisme to create a highly original style. Herrmann«s craggy vertical forms have a ruggedness akin to the best paintings of Clyfford Still, while his use of rough hewn materials has more in common with the great Spanish painter Antonio Tapies. However, he has his own unique approach to composition and texture, which he achieves by lacerating, sewing, and adorning the surfaces of his paintings with a wide variety of marks (sic), including customs stamps and other novel elements. In the suite of paintings shown here, which he calls the “Sack and Color” series, Herrmann even considers the aromatic aspects of the aesthetic experience, encouraging the viewer to enjoy the distinct scent of burlap, along with its visual and tactile qualities. However, it is his ability to contrast vibrant sometimes fiery, colours with areas of bare burlap ground in superbly organised compositions that makes the paintings of Gerald Herrmann outstanding.

New York; October 1995


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