Herb Roe Depicts Strange, Real-Life Celebrations in Oil Paintings

by Andy SmithPosted on

Ohio-born oil painter Herb Roe creates surreal scenes that are actually grounded in reality. Recent work documents the Courir de Mardi Gras, a traditional pre-Lenten bash attended by Cajun and Creole residents of his adopted home of Louisiana. In these celebrations, revelers wear costumes “drawn from medieval traditions, frontier era depictions of Native Americans and political and social commentary,” the artist says. Partially disguised, the members of these parties bring a lively and uninhibited energy to the proceedings.

“My most recent work is an exploration of the mythic qualities of the festival and its modern continuation,” Roe says, in a statement. “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.”

The artist attended Columbus College of Art and Design for a period before becoming an apprentice for esteemed mural artist Robert Dafford. He’s since worked on several mural projects of his own.

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