Selected works by Bruce Herman

Bruce Herman

 

I live on Cape Ann, a peninsula north of Boston, where the land has been scoured by the retreat of the great Laurentide glaciers over twenty thousand years ago, leaving behind a deposit of granite boulders and palisades along the seacoast. Since first visiting the cape, I’ve felt a tug on my imagination by the raw beauty of the land, the sea and sky, and the ever-changing weather here. A tidal estuary at the end of our street, Walker Creek, marks time with its tides as it laps against the granite (which itself marks a different time – geologic time).

 

T.S. Eliot (in The Four Quartets) says:

 

You are not here to verify,

Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity

Or carry report. You are here to kneel

Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more

Than an order of words, the conscious occupation

Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.

 

After more than thirty-five years here, there is still a tidal pull for me on Cape Ann; a stability in the midst of constant change. The ancient rocks and slow-growing lichens; the reliable coming and going of seasons and sea have set in motion something in me, even as I’ve stayed in place.

 

I’ve tried and failed countless times to capture this place in straightforward landscape painting, but like Eliot, I’ve discovered that I am not here to simply record or verify or instruct. I am here to pray, to witness. And I’ve tried to bear witness to something impossible to articulate – even for a great poet, much less a painter. It’s that presence which marks our lives and our land, and also a feel of great absence – eons and all living things passing, yet the persistent hope that comes from this underlying permanence, this solid truth: the beauty of this place has its origin in a living God.

 

--Bruce Herman, Artist Statement