international drawing annual 5 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Armin Mersmann
Midland, Michigan

Midland Center for the Arts

page 123


My work has become increasingly narrative; no longer am I satisfied with traditional portraiture especially commission work.  Symbolism both collective and personal are prevalent in my work as it deals with the evidence of humankind's existence through artifacts. I am reacting to man's preoccupation at cheating death by representing objects, tokens and icons in an attempt at achieving immortality. I am intrigued, amazed and frightened at the process of nature's power to reclaim and dealing with my own mortality these have been my main concepts of late. Although the "story" within the work is very important for me to release pent-up emotions and impressions, I do not feel it's necessary that the viewer understands verbatim what I am portraying within the work.  It is however important that the viewer's own imagination gets activated, where my imagery and their exclusive translation brings a brand new meaning to the work, one unique in that moment of time. These works are not meant to be illustrative where all the information is laid out but vague with hint of the surreal.  I firmly believe success of my work can only be attained through the unexpected nexus of thought and feelings between artist and viewer this then becomes the ultimate artistic collaboration.

Technically it's by keen observation that allows me to understand the person or object I am rendering; I could not get that knowledge from a photo alone. Although I use photography as a tool, it has many limitations; I need to see way beyond the photo image, and recreate the unique essence and capture the spirit missing in most reference photos.  I have never had the seemingly universal need to "loosen up," the obsession to see and render interesting details is my natural artistic language,  drawing and draftsmanship are life-long passions, working in this manner lets me understand the person or object in a manner that is heightened by this lengthy and meditative process. Overworking a drawing or painting is always looming, I have to be conscious of the natural way I see, augment when necessary and simplify to bring balance to the work. Composition, spatial movement and manipulation of different structures fascinate me. I will continue to explore my creative passions, find a new way to "see," be open to new ideas and celebrate craftsmanship.  



born:1955, Remscheid, Germany


Delta College, University Center

selected awards/honors

Art Prize, top 50, Grand Rapids, MI
45th Annual Greater Michigan, Excellence in Technique Awarded, Midland, MI
New American Drawings II, Best of Show, Kline Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
Vermont Studios, Full Fellowship, Johnson, VT

selected publications

Amazing Pencil Portraits II 2010
Amazing Pencil Portraits I 2008
International Drawing Annual I, Manifest Gallery
Interlude Magazine, Armin Mersmann, 2006

selected solo or two-person exhibits

The Veiled Narrative, University of Saint Frances, Fort Wayne IN, 2010
Drawing in Circles, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston IL, 2009
Drawing in Circles, Baylor University, Waco TX, 2009
The Language of Drawing, Central Michigan University,  Mount Pleasant MI , 2008

selected group shows

Between Realists,  invitational, Alexandria VA, 2010
Art Prize, Grand Rapids MI, 2009
Resistance to Vision, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH
From the Rustbelt, invitational, Flint MI 2008


Copyright © 2006-2011 Manifest Press