‘Human Doings’ an intimate yet anonymous exhibit

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Weymouth Mercantile hosts grocery and ‘to do’ art show

By Karla Kelly FOR THE DIGBY COURIER NovaNewsNow.com

Put it on your ‘to do right now’ list—stop at the Weymouth Mercantile this week to look at the lists other people have created before they are taken down Saturday.

Adriane Herman, artist in residence at the Jenny Family Compound at Baie Ste. Marie in New Edinburgh installed her  “Human Doings, a grocery and ‘to do’ list at the Mercantile for its opening on Nov. 13 opening and will be hosting a closing reception Saturday from 2-5 p.m.

Herman, an artist and art teacher at the Maine College of Art in Portland, was a successful applicant for the Jenny Family residency this fall and her installation at the Mercantile is a finale to her time here in Nova Scotia.

The compound in New Edinburgh provided Herman with studio space to install her exhibit during her residency but the artist felt bringing her lists to Weymouth would enable more of the community to have access to the temporary installation.

“The Jenny family encourages artists in residency to show their work at the New Edinburgh studio, but it was cold and I would have had to import the viewers,” Herman said. “Here at the Mercantile I have a built in audience and what better place to exhibit grocery and ‘to do’ lists than in a general store.

 “The moment I walked into the store I knew it would be a very fitting place to hang a bunch of ‘to do’ lists because it seems everyone around here stops in for something or other at some point during the day,” she said.  “During the installation I think I saw a few shoppers come in multiple times in one day.”

Herman’s installation revolves around the collection and re-presentation of other people’s grocery and ‘to do’ lists. She has somewhere between 1,200 and 1,400 lists, some as much as five years old, and she wants more. The artist is hoping local residents might offer her a list or two that she might share in future projects.

It is something so mundane and yet there is so much that can be garnered from looking at other people’s lists. Artist Adriane Herman

In an interview, Herman said she is eager to add some Nova Scotia lists to her collection, including some in French, to see what she might glean about the priorities of people who live in this beautiful area.

“The whole installation experience has been ideal from my perspective and any lists that I get as a result of the exhibit will be the cherry on top.”

Herman’s exhibit consists of all sorts of lists written, typed or printed on scraps of paper, pieces of wood, coffee filters,  paper doilies, sticky notes and the human hand, the latter having been photocopied for showing.

Everything from groceries to a list for a memorial service are posted at the Mercantile and Herman said she finds visitors quite interested in viewing her exhibits. 

“People tend to find the concept and actual collection of lists interesting. It is something so mundane and yet there is so much that can be garnered from looking at other people’s lists.”

People love to read them out loud to each other, and often they become like short poems. There is something, often much, that people relate to.

Herman, who has translated many of the lists into a variety of art forms, prints and etchings, says this type of art work came about as a result of informally collecting lists.

“The lists are intimate, yet anonymous, while showing people’s priorities and providing conversation pieces for viewers.”

An invitation is extended to the public to attend the closing reception on Saturday afternoon where the first 10 people to offer the artist a used list will receive a limited edition artist’s multiple.

Organizations: Maine College of Art, Mercantile

Geographic location: New Edinburgh, Weymouth, Nova Scotia Portland

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