Joel Herman

Joel Herman is a Toronto based artist who recently graduated with his MFA from the University of Guelph. His work has been shown in exhibitions at Gallery 44, Toronto; Helen Pitt Gallery, Vancouver; Ministry of Casual Living, Victoria; and Open Space, Victoria, among others. His work is represented by Diaz Contemporary.


  • Literally

    April 11–June 6, 2009

    Aaron Carpenter, <em>Literally</em>, Installation View

    Aaron Carpenter, <em>Literally</em>

    Aaron Carpenter, <em>Literally</em>

    Aaron Carpenter, <em>Literally</em>

    Aaron Carpenter, <em>Literally</em>

    Since September 2008, Artspeak’s ONSITE space has been dedicated to artist books, archives, libraries, and reading rooms. As an inversion of this, Artspeak is presenting Literally, an exhibition with an OFFSITE component that includes three artists working with the form of the book to make drawings, paintings, and video.

    In their work, Aaron Carpenter, Joel Herman, and Roula Partheniou play with the representation and referentiality of literature and knowledge in humorous ways. Interested in both mimicry and the processes of research, the artists consider the formal and connotative aspects of the book and the printed word as readymades and as points for further fiction. The readymade titles used by the artists become fictions in their own right, as Carpenter’s Polyglot drawing series and video point to. Carpenter’s drawings are altered facsimiles of book covers in which James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake is mentioned. In Finnigan(sp) Must Die!!!, Joyce’s work appears as science fiction, rendered part of the fictional universe of space travel, the starship Enterprise, and Spock. Carpenter’s related video extends the parallels between Joyce’s text and science fiction in filmic proportions on the Robson and Granville video board. Herman’s meticulous drawings reproduce related book title pages at a one-to-one scale. The books are chosen for their titular language and often function in pairs such as the following: Meaning and Expression / Expression and Meaning or Language and Logic / Logic and Language. Herman’s formal interest in symmetry plays out in subtle variations in scale and meaning. Partheniou’s paintings of books operate as trompe l’oeil in the round, using the three-dimensionality of the readymade canvases to mimic the book form. The paintings (in stacks or groupings) construct their own narratives, while operating as exercises in language, scale, and ultimately pointing to the transformative aspects of re-making.

Talks & Events

  • Artists’ Roundtable

    April 11, 2009

    Roundtable presented in conjunction with the exhibition, Literally.