Starting this month, a captivating new art exhibition – Bennie Herron: Zero and One (9/6 – 11/6) – is showcased at the top of the Hylton’s grand staircase in the Buchanan Partners Art Gallery. Working as both a visual artist and poet, Herron paints emotionally charged figures in dramatic contours, with the confrontational style of street art and graffiti. His paintings are a deeply personal response to his lived experience and search for poetic truth. That lived experience includes a challenging but loving childhood, and Herron’s memories of this time are visible as the undercurrent of his paintings, writings, and social advocacy. He paints and writes to understand himself, and in turn, to understand the world around him. We sat down with Herron to learn more about his art.
What are some of the themes you explore through your artwork in Zero and One?
The overall theme that I am exploring with my work is the relationship to human beings and the universe. We are often driving my things and material and my work acts as a reminder that everything we need is in us. Everything we need that makes us whole is in the mirror.
How do your poetry and visual art intersect?
My poetry, like my painting, is a self-reflection. I write to understand myself and to express my perspective of the world and its conditions. I try to write for those that don’t necessarily read poetry. I see myself as a conduit of emotions and experiences. If I am honest and real about how I see and feel, I think this will translate and become meaningful to those that read my work and experience my paintings.
What inspires you to create?
Music and spirituality are my inspiration. Inspired almost sounds cliché when I think about the motivation of music, especially hip-hop, soul, and jazz music. I am motivated by my wife Tanya Herron and my daughter August “Auggie” Herron. They give me space to be as creative as I need to be and fuel me through all my endeavors, as did my late mother Patricia Herron, whose spirit is with me through it all.
Buchanan Partners Art Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and two hours before each performance. Visit our website for more information about upcoming gallery exhibitions.