Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Spotlight: Herman Maril

Herman Maril is an artist who came to my attention recently.  The Walters Art Museum here in Baltimore did a show of his work titled, "Herman Maril: An American Modernist".  Since I work at the Walters, I had many occasions to see the show, and even teach it and help pass out evaluation forms to visitors.  I was surprised I had not heard of Maril's work before.  Born and raised in Baltimore, he attended MICA and taught at the University of Maryland.  He also spent summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and his work is influenced by those two places.  His paintings are simplified down to color and shape, two elements that Maril considered extremely important.  In an interview by Carl Schoettler for the Evening Sun in 1983, Maril said, "My preoccupation in painting has always been space...Huge open areas of space.  I like to think of the concept of space.  I like to deal with big open spaces.  And color.  Color and space is painting."

I too feel that painting consists of color and space, and so I appreciate Maril's work and approach to painting.  His work has elements of Cubism, Fauvism, and Modernism to it- i.e. breaking down surface planes and objects into basic shapes and multiple view points, bright unnatural colors, and color field painting.  His beach scenes and delicate interiors also remind me personally of the artist Fairfield Porter, and my own childhood growing up on the beach.  You can see Maril's work in person at the University of Maryland, the Provincetown Art Museum, and other select locations.


  1. I stumbled upon your blog looking for local artists and I just wanted to tell you that I so enjoy your writing. Thanks for introducing Maril's work. I had seen him years ago, but couldn't remember his name.

    Thank you!

  2. Thank you, Melissa! Glad you enjoyed it- there's more to come! :) ~Sarah