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Gallery History - by Hoyt Johnson
Telephone Exposures Gallery at 866-ART-SITE877-ART-SITE

Exposures Gallery History


“Dance for your soul”

By Hoyt Johnson

Sedona Magazine - Spring 2000 Issue


When Marty and Diane Herman explain the motivation that drove them to establish an impressive gallery with more than 20,000 square feet of indoor / outdoor exhibits, they might as well quote sculptor Bill Worrell, who exclaimed: “Dance for your soul, dance for your soul.”

In fact, Diane does almost dance when she proudly states, “Marty just follows his heart.” And she does another step or two when adding, “We live with passion.”

As for Marty, he bares his soul when he explains: “Establishing this gallery was a labor of love – love of art and artists, and this community.” His eyes shine even brighter when he says, “This gallery grew from our love for each other, too.”

Then, almost in unison, they chorus: “Our gallery is a gift from heaven, and nothing else could so completely have fulfilled our lives.”

Well, surely Marty had to be possessed as he followed his heart to Sedona, because he left what easily could be considered a dream life. His retirement at age 35 was followed by a five-year sabbatical. And during this peaceful period, Marty and Diane – recently married – sailed around the world on their private yacht.

This unbelievable trip was not all about sailing, however. These honeymooners also did some drifting – mentally, that is. Diane remembered her years as an art and science major in college; but Marty, especially, reminisced about his deep, photographic roots. Indeed, he remembered initially becoming interested in photography in New York City, where he was born and raised. In fact, he recalled picking up a camera to document his own birthday party when he was 13, and subsequently, marking that experience as the beginning of an extreme love and passion for photography.

Marty remembered that years after that birthday party, his formal studies in photographic art were interrupted by the Vietnam War, when he was a combat photographer and also served with the photo intelligence branch of the United States Air Force. He reminisced with Diane about accepting various positions in professional photography in New York City and Hollywood previous to becoming a motion picture cameraman with responsibility for documenting the Apollo Space Program. And he talked about founding a Los Angeles-based advertising agency in 1975, which ultimately earned him numerous awards and unusual recognition.

By the time that Marty and Diane docked in California, they had decided to look for a place to live where clean air and a spectacular, natural environment were priorities, no matter where this place was located – almost! You see, when they called the Environmental Protection Agency, it referred them to the Four Corners area. And when Marty and Diane hedged a little, explaining that simple things like theaters, restaurants, cultural activities – and art galleries! – also were important, EPA suggested Sedona.

During their first visit to Sedona in late fall, they borrowed a line from Brigham Young. “This is the place!” they exclaimed. “We had heard about this area’s renowned red rocks, and we were extremely curious,” said Diane. “What we saw was absolutely awesome; the beauty of Sedona exceeded our greatest expectations!”

With Marty entertaining a yearning to return to art, especially photography, and Diane anxious to apply what she learned as an art major, they explored the possibilities of opening “a little tiny art gallery.” Mostly, they were excited about doing this together, a joyous commitment they credit for their success. “Our relationship stems from a great quality of life, and our gallery is based on an exceptional quality of art,” explained Diane. Their gallery, however, is as far removed from “little tiny” as imaginable – but I’m getting ahead of my story.

While becoming acquainted with Sedona, Marty and Diane were impressed by Hillside, a collection of shops, galleries and restaurants on Hwy 179, where a 1,700-square-foot gallery called Galleries of the West was available. Always the cameraman, Marty changed the name to After an extensive renovation inside and outside, structurally and architecturally, Marty and Diane celebrated the grand opening of Exposures International Gallery of Fine Art with hundreds of friends, clients and guests on a beautiful evening last fall. And what a gala affair it was! Indeed, amid the melodic ringing caused by the clanging of champagne glasses, Marty announced a monthlong schedule of programming dedicated to work by “the Southwest’s most dynamic artists.”

This schedule included exhibits by Dr. John M. Soderberg, master bronze sculptor; Bill Worrell, who introduced new works in bronze; Tom Perkinson, visionary oil painter; Ethan Deuel, with innovative interpretations of ancient artwork; Daniel Newman, who displayed classic and modern creations in stone and bronze; Gene and Rebecca Tobey, who showed new releases in bronze, ceramic and watercolor; and Charles Frizzell, who introduced new paintings in oil, acrylic and watercolor. Also, a special “Women in the Arts Weekend” featured Kim Kori, Susanne Vertel, Penelope Bushman, Allison Dearborn Rieder, Misty Soderberg, Heather, PJ Rogers and H. Bobbie Carlyle.

Today, almost 100 artists are represented at Exposures International Gallery of Fine Art – and every day, those among Sedona’s millions of visitors who appreciate fine art, including numerous aficionados, stroll through the peaceful sculpture garden dotted with cottonwoods, junipers and weeping willows. Here, these people relax on benches as they enjoy spectacular views of Sedona’s massive red-rock formations, which in a delightful and mysterious way appear to be mirrored in the garden’s impressive display of more than 20 monumental sculpture. Definitely, it is a pleasant place to pause and reflect.

Inside, the semi-circular reception area that fronts the expansive, open-wall entrance to the garden is decorated with waterfalls enhanced by sculpted frogs and pussy willows. Visitors immediately are reminded that they have not stepped into a museum or library because at variousIt is also interesting to note that like good dancers who don’t think about what the next step is, Marty and Diane didn’t conceive their gallery with a “let’s do this, and a let’s do that” philosophy. “We just let it happen,” they explained. “And we didn’t title our plan, either, because it is still evolving. The gallery is our art – it’s a work in progress, and we haven’t signed it, yet.”

Well, a quick perusal of the guest register at Exposures International Gallery of Fine Art attests to the appeal ofBring on the ghosts! Let’s dance!


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