Sandra Molina interviews Katie Herzog in Whittier Daily News 2.14.10

In her element

Whittier librarian part of women-in-art show

By: Sandra T. Molina

WHITTIER – It’s not every day an artist gets two shows simultaneously. But for Los Angeles-based artist Katie Herzog, this month her work is on display at the Whittier Public Library and City Hall.

Herzog, who is a reference librarian at the Whittier facility, has a unique piece in the show, “Broad Strokes: Women in Art.”

She joins the other women in the show: Lalena Vellanoweth, Maribel Avitia, Ofelia Warthen, Alexis Smith, Marya Alford, Emily Joyce, Suzy Lake, Elizabeth Doran, Franca Ireland, Erin Fletcher, Marty Wilson and Wendy Heldmann.

“It’s an honor to be part of such a diverse and talented group of people,” said Herzog, 30.
The art exhibition of local and international female artists will include a screening of the documentary film, “Who Does She Think She Is,” by Academy Award-winner Pamela Tanner Boll.

The documentary follows several female artists’ lives and the barriers they encounter within the art field and other aspects of their lives.

The art show, screening and artists’ reception is free and open to the public.

Following the film presentation, there will be a question-and-answer session regarding the issues addressed in the film.

Herzog’s piece in the show is a painting depicting a Whittier Library bookshelf filled with an array of colorful books.

She knows the subject well, since it is one of the shelves she sees on-the-job as a reference librarian.

“I was inspired by how the sun shone through the pattern on the wall (facing Washington Avenue), casting a shadow and making a pattern on the books,” Herzog said.

The  work, which is the face of the library card, is on exhibit under a black light in a gallery closet.

The show at City Hall, “Ecstacy of Municipality,” features a 15-foot wide depiction of the bell in the courtyard.

Herzog who also works at the Kappe Library at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, was inspired by English poet John Greenleaf Whittier.

Particularly, it was the poem – “My Name I Give to Thee” – he wrote to honor the city that took his name.

“He was moving outside of himself,” Herzog said. “And the idea of the bell intrigued me.”

She explained the bell rings and people hear it and feel it.

“Sort of outside themselves,” Herzog said.

The work made of acrylic paint and wax string and yarn on burlap has been well-received by the public.

“People have commented how much they like it,” said Fran Shields, director of community services.

They have also asked about the rip in the burlap on the bottom right corner.

“The material was given to me like that,” Herzog said. “I didn’t fix because it felt like movement; it plays with physicality”

The psychedelic shapes and colors of the piece, she said, convey the aestheticism of freedom.

“Along with the rip in it, there’s an exploratory feel to it because of the color scheme,” Herzog said.

Both shows are available to the public through February.

Click here to view original article