Sandra T. Molina interviews Katie Herzog in Whittier Daily News 2.3.09

Libraries as art

Whittier staffer exhibits love for workplace

For most people, looking at a row of telephone books or how the sunlight plays across floor tile is not something they notice, let alone inspire a piece of art.

Not so for 29 year old Katie Herzog, a reference desk librarian whose work is on display throughout this month at the Whittier Central library. “It’s a beautiful building and the big windows let a lot of light in,” she said Monday as she placed her work on the walls in the Nixon room.

On loan from Circus Gallery in West Hollywood, the seven pieces that make up her solo show, “Art as Experience,” depict people and items in and around the Whittier Library and others where she’s worked. “We hope that this exhibit presents the library as a cultural venue, and not just a place for books,” said Diane Hara, library administrator. “We want to be the pulse of the community.”

Hara said Herzog’s artwork conveys a love for the library, and makes “the library look beautiful.” Her boss isn’t the only one taking notice of Herzog’s work. A review in Artwork Magazine’s current issue said of her painting “Whittier Public Library,” it depicts the “sense of nostalgia, both to a faded age and to our current era.”

The acrylic on canvas, 60-inch by 72-inch paintings of the 1960s era bookshelf with colorful book bindings is the largest piece of the collection.

Herzog took about five months to complete the painting, which was inspired by a black and white photo. “I like using black and white photos so I am not influenced by the colors,” she said. “Instead, I use what’s in my mind to make it come alive.”

Herzog, whose work has been shown in Los Angeles, New York, Mexico and England, wants the library exhibit to be participatory.

Patrons are encouraged to write responses to the work such as reviews, poems, criticism or whatever comes to mind. “I look forward to the feedback,” she said.

The public is invited to a reception from 3:30 to 4:30 pm Feb. 14.

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