Artwork courtesy of the artist.
My work focuses on depicting the relevance of traditional communal and community building events such as the boucherie and the Courir de Mardi Gras. The majority of this focus has been on the “courir”, the traditional pre-Lenten celebration of the Prairie Cajuns of southwest Louisiana, an entire day of masked revelry with its roots in the ancient Roman Lupercalia and Saturnalia. The participants’ elaborate costumes are drawn from medieval traditions, frontier era depictions of Native Americans and political and social commentary; costumes meant to simultaneously conceal one’s identity and through the temporary repeal of societal inhibitions display their inner selves.
My most recent work is an exploration of the mythic qualities of the festival and its modern continuation. I search to portray the otherworldliness of the day by placing the participants into a dream like setting of spreading moss draped oaks and vibrant splashes of color. This lets me explore the psychological implications of the holiday from my status as an outsider; lending more of an impact to the brightly colored costumes by contrasting them against their background environments. More than just a likeness, my work is an interpretation of the Light and Darkness involved in the holiday, draped in symbolic layers meant to elicit thoughts and perceptions of its place in our modern world.
The system I use helps me to build detailed compositions on my canvas before the application of color, a technique heavily based in western classical realist traditions. I add drama and focus to my pieces with layering of light and color, built up through multiple layers of impasto and oil glazes, but built upon detailed graphite drawings and value studies before color is applied to the canvas. This technique allows me to determine the subject and mood for a piece at its inception; and then to focus on achieving that effectively through use of light and color without the distractions of rearranging my compositions in subsequent layers.
Herb Roe was born and spent his childhood in the Appalachian regions of Southern Ohio and Northeastern Kentucky. In 1992 he received a scholarship to the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio and attended his freshman year there. In the summer of 1993 he met the Louisiana mural artist Robert Dafford. He subsequently apprenticed to and worked for Dafford for 15 years on mural projects throughout the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys. As a Dafford Muralist, Roe specialized in large scale, long term historical mural projects, often connected with local Chambers of Commerce, Tourism Bureaus and Downtown Development Agencies. Many of these projects took between 5 and 10 years to complete, and ranged from 1 to 50 murals in each town. In 2007 Roe began to pursue a career as a fine artist, specializing in fine art oil paintings depicting the history and culture of his adopted home in South Louisiana’s Acadian region.
- 1992-1993 Studied at Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, OH
- 1993-2007 15 year apprenticeship with mural painter Robert Dafford
Interviews and Press
- “Brush Strokes : How Herb Roe painted himself from Appalachia to the Gulf “, the Independent Weekly, Lafayette, La December 28, 2011.
- Podcast of an interview from KRVS where I discuss my art and career. “Interview with Herb Roe on The Exchange with Cheryl Castille”. Interview was live on February 2, 2012.
- My favorite quote from a newspaper article :”Up-and-Coming artist you’d invest in now : Herb Roe”, from the “Cool Town” article list of things which makes Lafayette a great place to live, the Independent Weekly, Lafayette, La March 23, 2011.
- “Top 5 with Lafayette Artist Herb Roe”, the Independent Weekly, Lafayette, La February 2, 2010.
- “Small Town’s story turns drab walls into art”, Paducah Arts Newsletter, October 2009.
- “A Pictures Worth”, The Portsmouth Daily Times, June 24, 2009
- “Artist paints mural at PHS Athletic Complex”, The Portsmouth Daily Times, July 19, 2012.
- “Mardi Gras exhibit in Arnaudville”, The Daily World, February 1, 2013.
- “Artist runs home for softball mural”, The Portsmouth Daily Times, June 26, 2013.
- “On the Cover – February 2014”, Country Roads Magazine, Baton Rouge, La February 1, 2014.
- “Roe on ‘the Run'”, The IND Monthly, Lafayette, La February 3, 2014.
- “Of Oak Trees and Dogs”, David Cheramie, Acadiana Profile, June-July 2014
- “What’s Going On…..with Herb Roe”, video interview with Dominick Cross, The Advertiser, October 2014
- 2014 Le Courir – Explorations of community and culture in a world turned upside down, National Park Service Jean Lafitte Prairie Acadian Cultural Center, Eunice, LA
- 2013 Solo Exhibition, Maiden Alley Cinema Gallery, Paducah, KY
- 2013 Masks and Mayhem II, Steeple Vue Gallery, NUNU’s Arts and Culture Collective, Arnaudville, LA
- 2012 Masks and Mayhem – The Courir de Mardi Gras art of Herb Roe, St. Landry Parish Visitor Information Center, Opelousas, LA
- 2009 Solo Exhibition, A. I. R. Studio, Paducah, KY
- 2015 19th Annual No Dead Artists, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans, LA (curated by Max Fishko, director, Art Market Productions, New York, NY, Valerie Cassell Oliver, senior curator, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX and David Workman, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA)
- 2015 Group Exhibition, Ariodante Contemporary, New Orleans, LA
- 2015 5th Annual Brush with Burden Exhibition, LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden, Baton Rouge, LA (curated by Phil Sandusky)
- 2015 The Big Easel Art Fair Preview Show, Lounge Ballery, Lafayette, LA, Best Oil Painting award (curated by Jeffery McCullough)
- 2014 45th annual River Road Show, Louisiana State Archives, Baton Rouge, LA, (curated by Morten E. Solberg)
- 2014 Where You Stay At? P3+ exhibit, Ten Gallery + Collective, New Orleans, LA (curated by Jonathan Mayers)
- 2014 Art Melt 2014, Capital Park Museum, Baton Rouge, LA (curated by Katie Pfohl, LSU Museum of Art, Baton Rouge, LA, Ben Thompson, Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, FL, and Eric Robert Dallimore, Leon Gallery, Denver, CO)
- 2014 The Summer Show, 49th National Juried Artists Exhibition, St. Tammany Art Association, Covington, LA, (curated by Beth Batton, Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS)
- 2014 Covering Country Roads, East Baton Rouge Public Library, Baton Rouge, LA, (curated by James Fox-Smith, publisher Country Roads Magazine, Baton Rouge, LA)
- 2014 LaGrange National XXVIII Exhibition, LaGrange Art Museum, LaGrange, GA (curated
by Annette Cone-Skelton, The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia)
- 2013 Art with a Bayou View, University of Louisiana at Monroe, Monroe, LA, Best in Show award(curated by Dr. Edwin Pinkston)
- 2013 Art Melt 2013, Capital Park Museum, Baton Rouge, LA, Honorable mention from juror Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker (curated by Jordana Pomeroy, LSU Museum of Art, Baton Rouge, LA, Susan Edwards, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN, and Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA)
- 2013 Rock the Flock, Gallery 549, Lafayette, LA (curated by Donald LeBlanc)
- 2012 Ex Arte Equinas VI, Art Horse Magazine. Honorable mention painting category (curated by Patricia Powers)
- 2012 43rd annual River Road Show, Louisiana State Archives, Baton Rouge, LA, Honorable mention (curated by Sam Corso)
- 2012 Masquerade, ARC Gallery, San Francisco, CA, (curated by Jack Fischer, Jack Fischer Gallery, San Francisco, Ca)
- 2008 Southern Open, Acadiana Center for the Arts, Lafayette, LA, (curated by Peter Frank, Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA)
- 2002 Two-Person Exhibition, Cite des Artes, Lafayette, LA (with painter Wayne Ditch)
- Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation Art Collection at the George & Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center 1225 N. Rampart Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Works held in private collections throughout the United States.