Exploring the Dark Side

Fran Ward recently talked with Barbara Hennig-Loomis, guest curator for Charles A. Taylor Arts Center’s July art exhibition “Carpe Noctem,” a Latin phrase for “seize the night.”

TW: Good morning, Barbara. Before talking about the exhibition, would you please tell the readers something about yourself?

BL: Good morning. I’m a working artist, teacher, a wife, very definitely a mother, and a connector of dots.

TW: You’ll have to explain that one!

BL: I am one of those people who has the ability to sense patterns and connections from a distance. That predictive ability looks like magic to some people. The fun is in trying to connect the dots and share the connection with people and expand the web of allies who can then see the connection.

TW: That is quite a talent. We’ll talk about that more later, I’m sure. Where are you from?

BL: I was born in Germany to a German father and American mother and spent most of my life in twenty-three locations in Western Europe and across the U.S. until settling in Chesapeake.

TW: Where did you study?

BL: My formal education includes a B.F.A. in art history and graduate studies in the same as a Fulbright Fellow in Germany. 

TW: When did you become an artist?

BL: After a twenty-year hiatus, I began painting and exhibiting again when some of my portraits were accepted and received recognition.

TW: I’ve seen some of the portraits on your website. They are exquisite!

BL: Thank you. I’ve exhibited fairly regularly on a local and regional basis. Now I “keep company with the subjects of portraits” in my home studio.

TW: “Keep company?”

BL: When I am working on someone’s portrait, I have more than 100 images of that person and objects that are (or were) important to that person. They are all around me as if the person is there.

TW: I see. On another topic, Wikipedia translates “carpe diem” as seize the day; take advantage of the opportunities arising in the day.” Tell us about “Carpe Noctem,” a Latin phrase for “seize the night,” the exhibition that you just curated.

BL: One way I connected the dots is in curating this show. In this day and age, light is seemingly inescapable. This exhibition explores the many facets of darkness, from the depths of the soul, to the mystical realms that open when night falls. From the earliest cave paintings until about 150 years ago, art was done in the dark. The dark was light enough, and color and form merged seamlessly with the night from which it emerged.

TW: What kind of artworks did you expect to have submitted for entry in this invitational show?

BL: We expected to see many lovers—strangers in the night—but we did not receive any at all. People brought surprises to the show. There is dark humor, for example. The exhibition is dedicated to representations of the night: the intimacy of candlelight, the magic of a moonlit landscape, or a glimpse at the musings that nightfall breeds. Some of the categories include sleep and/or dream visions; the solitary or lonely; nights of love or death; the macabre, fantastic or miraculous; and songs of the night however they manifest: serenades, nocturnes, and aubades. We hope to evoke emotion with this exhibit as we explore the dark side and seize the night.

TW: Barbara, who thought up the theme and the title?

BL: I did. Color forces us to see. Light makes us look more closely.

TW: The postcard reads, “Night and darkness, death and nightlife, nocturnal light as well as the black depths of horror and humor are all represented in this exhibition. Join us in peering into the shadows, where things are a little more difficult to see.”

BL: Yes. It is an opportunity to expand one’s vision.

TW: Barbara, what is your first memory?

BL: That’s easy for me. Jumping off sand dunes at Lake Michigan when I was two. We were visiting grandparents in Wisconsin, and jumping off the dunes, I was flying. I thought how wonderful that was! I fly like I am swimming—doing the breast stroke. Parasailing over the Alps, I had the same feeling.

TW: And you are still flying. You take great leaps of faith with your art and your ideas. My last question is what would you like TW readers to know?

BL: Get out there! Don’t live in a bubble! Just open your eyes and really see things. There’s so much out there to see. I tell everyone, “Look! See that!” Do your part for art! Make your work, and make your work count. And I want to encourage everyone to see the show.

TW: I’ll be there. I hope many readers of Tidewater Women will also seize the opportunity to see “Carpe Noctem.” Thank you for your words of wisdom.


For more information about Barbara Hennig-Loomis, visit www.smallcanvas.net or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information about Carpe Noctem: Seize the Night, visit www.hamptonarts.net.

Fran Ward is a freelance writer and arts advocate.

Fran Ward

Fran Ward is an artist and writer with a Ph.D. in Metaphysics (the body, mind, spirit connection). She is an active art and music lover who enjoys traditional cultural productions as well as seeking events off the beaten path. Reach her at arts@tidewaterwomen.com.

Website: peacegrid.com
back to top

More from Lifestyle

Weaving the Threads of Life

Weaving the Threads of Life

Art Folks 03-01-2018

Artist, managing editor of Op-Ed News, and author of 90-Minute Quilts, Meryl Ann Butler teaches and creates art in her studio in Ocean View... Read more

Instilling Excellence at GSA

Instilling Excellence at GSA

Art Folks 02-01-2018

Deborah Thorpe has been a passionate advocate for the Governor’s School for the Arts (GSA) since its initial pilot program in 1984. Today, Deborah... Read more

Changing the Arts Landscape

Changing the Arts Landscape

Art Folks 12-30-2017

The Virginia Arts Festival was founded nearly 23 years ago by Virginia Beach native Robert Cross, a man many call a visionary. He stays... Read more

Artist Paints Eclectic Mix

Artist Paints Eclectic Mix

Art Folks 09-30-2017

One exhibit you won’t want to miss this month is artist Elaine Fleck’s captivating work on display through Oct. 21, 2017, at Norfolk’s Transit... Read more

In the Moment with Court Watson

In the Moment with Court Watson

Art Folks 08-30-2017

Court Watson grew up in Chesapeake and studied acting with the Hurrah Players. In college Court studied scene design and costume design and graduated... Read more

Juggling Art and Life

Juggling Art and Life

Art Folks 05-30-2017

A flash of saturated color; bold ink lines; a curvy, spirited mermaid; a grumpy blue crab who looks ready to pinch your fingers. You’ll... Read more

Saving Elephants with Art

Saving Elephants with Art

Art Folks 10-29-2016

Tidewater Women’s Stephanie Allen sat down with California-based artist, educator, and furniture maker Wendy Maruyama at the site of her latest exhibition, The WildLIFE... Read more

Theresa Caputo: Embracing Gifts

Theresa Caputo: Embracing Gifts

Art Folks 09-22-2016

Tidewater Women’s Stephanie Allen had the opportunity to chat with Theresa Caputo, star of TLC’s hit television series Long Island Medium, who appears in... Read more

Meet Chris Hanna

Meet Chris Hanna

Art Folks 08-30-2016

Tidewater Women’s Stephanie Allen spoke with Chris Hanna, artistic director for the Virginia Stage Company, about his experiences in the theatre business and VSC’s... Read more