Anna-Zoë Herr has always loved the arts, especially painting and photography. She studied art intensively during high school and college.
Zoë was the personal assistant of artist Candy Nartonis, who mentored her and taught her the language of the brush. Her first solo exhibition of photography was at the Heinz Berggruen Gymnasium in Berlin, Germany, in 2010, the latest solo show of paintings at Principia College, Elsah, Illinois, in 2017. During a nine month trip through Latin America, Zoë worked for an NGO in Ecuador and taught art to indigenous and local kids.
Her Junior Fall Semester was spent in Prague, focusing on fine art and creative writing. Since her senior year in College, transcendental ideas and how they relate to the every-day life of all of us have moved up front, topics like “transformative solitude”, “surrendering and restoring”, and “the essence of friendship”.
I have never been able to separate my art from the mental process that liberates and yet ensnares me daily. I often ask myself why I paint and why I always get drawn back to the canvas, the messy oil paints, the dripping pinks and blues. I yearn to find answers, artistic answers, profound answers.
Concepts and questions I have pondered lately have been:
Is it possible to depict artistically true surrender to God?
How is solitude transformative?
Are humility and power linked?
Can art resist environmental destruction? How?
What does the coincidence of the human and the divine truly mean? How can human life be uplifted and enriched through divine Love?
What is the true and deep potential of friendship? Can something we have lost – even if that be a sense of who we are - be restored to us?
All my work tries to engage the ephemeral part of story-telling, something that connects different ideas and experiences. It seems to me that the nature of the concepts I ponder, call for answers that aren’t earth-bound and representative, but float in a different dimension that holds hands with imagination and spiritual sense.
I prefer to paint with oils and use tools that include different brushes, palette knives and different pieces of cardboard and paper. Oil paint gives me the feeling that I am working with another being. Since it dries slowly, my palette paints with--and sometimes--against my sense of control.
In my process, I have found that the more I work with spiritual concepts first and let go of any notion of wanting to be this or that, or wanting to create something that I would make me proud, the more liberated and easy painting is. It is unselfed love and humility that encourage me to give my work up to God and have Him/Her outline the work. I know today, that without humility and meekness, I would not be able to paint.