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Arts Center features nationally-recognized landscape artist

By KATE SNYDER

Community Arts Center

Perspective is everything in art. Most traditional landscape artists paint with their feet firmly planted on the earth, with a point of view parallel to the ground. The results are gorgeous, iconic paintings of rolling hills, abundant flower gardens and babbling brooks. Louisville artist Billy Hertz takes a completely different approach to landscape art, and the results are stunning.

Hertz , the owner of Galerie Hertz in Louisville, approaches the earth from a bird’s eye point of view, soaring above the landscape and creating incredible aerial vistas in which the tiny details vanish into great swaths of color. Fields become bright patches of reds and greens while lakes and rivers transform into arcs and puddles of blue.

“As an artist, I am a bit of an archaeologist,” says Hertz . “My paintings of landscapes have become far removed from any traditional definition of that genre; yet they still maintain a slender but sustaining thread to the concept of representational image.”

Hertz’s relationship with the Community Arts Center dates back several years, to when he entered one of the annual Horizon: Contemporary Landscape juried exhibitions. Creative Director Brandon Long remembers being thrilled to see Hertz’s name among the list of entrants. “If anything exciting and new is going on in the Louisville art scene, it’s happening at Galerie Hertz. Any time I’d find a great artist in the Louisville area, I’d track them down online and sure enough, they were part of this great cadre of artists that Billy has cultivated.  It was greatly encouraging to see that our Horizon show was even on his radar.”

Hertz’s interest in aerial landscapes was triggered by trips to Italy and Russia in the 1990s. He recalls that “flying out of the different locations, I was astonished at the rich patterns of the fields that were being cultivated, bisected by rivers, roadways, and rail lines, geometric patterns and tremendous, vibrant colors.”

Hertz has been exploring the possibilities of nature’s resources as inspiration for his work ever since. “The blurring of naturalism and non-representational in the imagery obfuscates the intention enough to create some mystery in a subject usually thought of as straightforward,” says Hertz. “It communicates the astonishment I felt looking down on Siberian forests from thousands of feet in the air, and hopefully seduces my viewers into completing the narrative for themselves; a profound sense of discovery that gives my paintings their power.”

Hertz  will be present for the opening reception of ReInterpret on March 10 which is not a small undertaking for the artist. Billy struggles with significant health problems stemming from the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of a brain tumor in 2006. The artist must spend hours each day in a hyperbaric chamber to treat necrosis of the brain that resulted from the intensive radiation needed to treat the tumor. “We are truly honored that Hertz  is making the effort to join us for the opening of this show,” says Long. “This is a show that you will not want to miss.”

Hertz has also brought along four of the most promising artists that he represents in his Louisville gallery. Kayla Bischoff, Brad Devlin, Jim Doiron and Lisa Simon will have work exhibited in the upstairs Farmers National Bank Gallery for the duration of the ReInterpret exhibit.