Artist Spotlight: Daniel Herr

Daniel Herr, White Nights, Oil, chalk pastel, and collage on canvas, 56 x 56 in. Image courtesy of Lindsay Comstock.

Daniel Herr is an abstract painter whose expressive brushstrokes and vibrant colors combine to create dynamic landscape imagery. Originally from California, Herr has done numerous residencies internationally, completed his MFA at Boston University, and is currently living and working in Brooklyn, NY. His nomadic lifestyle lends itself to his artwork’s focus on place, where one comes from, and where one feels at home. His memories and experiences with places provide reference to his work. This is specifically visible in his piece, White Nights, currently on view at Abigail Ogilvy gallery until October 28th.

Herr reflects back to when he created the painting, “There was a bridge I used to walk across at night to my apartment in Cambridge from my studio in grad school. I loved the idea that I could wake up, walk over the river to go to work, walk back at night.” The nighttime view was mostly mundane institutional buildings, but at night they seemed to have a magic to them. The river was frozen solid all winter, and as he passed over the bridge Herr kept thinking about Starry Night Over the Rhone by Vincent Van Gogh, and the idea of creating his own personal version of the painting.

Daniel Herr. Brooklyn, NY. Image courtesy of Lindsay Comstock.

In regards to titling his pieces, he adds whimsy to his work by using what he describes as “absurd phrases”.  These phrases usually have a narrative quality to them, mirroring the story like aspects of his pieces. He explains, “I like the idea that the picture can tell a story, even if not a beginning, middle, and end. It's more like a title to a poem: it references something specific that the poem isn't saying directly.” Indeed, his art is a visual poetry: expressive, emotional, and sometimes ambiguous. Embracing this ambiguity, he describes his paintings as similar to multiple exposures, superimposed on top of each other.

He continues to expand on the energetic feeling of his paintings in what he is currently working on by creating a series of medium-scale paintings based on watercolor and quick sketches.


Daniel Herr received his MFA from Boston University in 2011 and his BA from the University of California, Davis in 2004. Herr has completed artist residencies around the world including the Molten Capital residency at Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago, Chile, Estudio Nónmada in Barcelona, Spain, and the Artist Colony residency at the Inside–Out Art Museum in Beijing, China. Herr’s work is now apart of the Inside–Out Art Museum’s permanent collection as well as having been exhibited in the United States and Chile. Daniel Herr lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Herr is currently part of a group exhibition at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery, Nocturne, on view from 10/3 to 10/28.

Local Nonprofit Spotlight: Artists For Humanity

Our gallery director, Abigail Ogilvy, and AFH teens in front of their artwork

Artists For Humanity (AFH) alumnus, Tony ‘PRONZY’ Perez, was an AFH teen artist in the painting and sculpture studios for several years before becoming an assistant mentor for an additional three years (and recently exhibited at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery!). Perez reflects on how AFH impacted his growth mentally and artistically, “Growing up the oldest of ten [fourteen now] with a single mother, a lot of pressure is put on your shoulders to set an example for my siblings. I struggled with that a lot. I wasn’t the best academically, was not very athletic, definitely wasn’t good at art by any means; AFH changed that for me. They were a home away from home. Rob, Stephen, Andy, Swat -- they were all more than mentors, they were family. They molded me, artistically, mentally, and culturally. They were very honest and didn’t spare feelings. They wanted you to know that you had room to grow, so you could become the best you could become. Rob always said, “Grow on, Flow on” and I intend on doing that exactly. While they mentored me in the arts, what I appreciated from the beginning and will until the end, is how much they visibly care for our development and well-being; even if we don’t choose to be artists later on.”

Mayor Walsh stands in front of a commissioned installation in the Bank of America lobby

Not only does AFH give teens an opportunity to explore various realms of art, but the program also allows them to experience working with clients directly and coming up with creative solutions. A recent example was a project for the Bank of America lobby, which was spearheaded by a fourteen-year-old AFH teen! Academic tutoring is also an important part of the AFH program: 100% of AFH high school seniors graduate on time and go to college, including top schools like Boston College, Georgetown University, RISD, and Tufts University. 

Given the success of AFH alumni it is clear how much impact the organization has on the lives of their teen participants. By supporting their careers, AFH creates young, innovative, and informed leaders who can redistribute the tools they’ve learned from AFH to the youth around them. 

Abigail Ogilvy Gallery looks forward to hosting a two day exhibition with AFH on June 2-June 3, 2018. Join us for a Spring Mixer the evening of June 2nd, all proceeds for the event will be donated to Artists For Humanity: Learn More

Artists For Humanity's (AFH) mission is to bridge economic, racial and social divisions by providing under-resourced urban youth with the keys to long-term economic and personal self-sufficiency through paid employment in art and design. AFH’s mission is built on the philosophy that engagement in the creative process is a powerful force for social change, and that creative entrepreneurship is a productive and life-changing opportunity for young people and enriches their communities. In 27+ years, AFH has grown to become a leader in youth development and one of the largest onsite employers of Boston teens. The next few years will be a transformative time for AFH with the expansion of the EpiCenter, which will allow AFH to double youth employment to 500+ teens annually. To learn more, visit:  

Go Behind the Scenes at Artists For Humanity (AFH) where all six our bustling studios are alive with creative energy. Hear from co-founders Jason Talbot, Rob Gibbs, and Susan Rodgerson; participants Jonathan 'Pineapple' Tejeda, Jamaleek Bush, Samantha Shave, and Fred Plowright; as well as community members Nina Nielsen, Mel King, and John Cannistraro.