George Herms’s ME is an assemblage artwork that considers the concepts of identity and artistry.
Herms has constructed the artwork in such a way that it creates a feeling of “handmade-ness.” The wooden frame is mismatched, with the framing edge misaligned with the backing,and the red velvet fabric that acts as a backdrop peeks out beyond the corners of the frame. A “hand made” is also cleverly the subject of this artwork: a gardening glove attached to a wooden brush mimic the form of a large human hand and hairy arm. The glove is haphazardly holding a wooden block that resembles the letter “M,” on which a brightly colored text appearing to be from a printed magazine reads “Me”; the hand literally holds a piece of “ME.” Furthermore, the use of the red fabric evokes a sense of theatricality, as the velvety texture coupled with the bright red color resemble stage curtains.
Although Herms titles the artwork “ME,” the “me” that the title is referring to is not immediately clear. One might consider this a self-portrait of the artist, as it is Herms himself who assembled this hand with his literal hands. The artwork could also be implying that the idea of “me,” that is, the notion of selfhood, is not a large, abstract, untamable concept but rather, selfhood is discrete and manageable because it is something we construct ourselves.
Artist: George Herms
Medium: Mixed Media
Dimension:19 1/4 x 13 1/2 x 3 3/4 in. (48.9 x 34.29 x 9.53 cm)
Collection: The Buck Collection at the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art
Copyright: © George Herms