From Army to artist: Hampton veteran’s paintings to be displayed at Sandler Center

"Just My Guitar" by Gerome Meminger Sr. (Courtesy of the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts)
“Just My Guitar” by Gerome Meminger Sr. (Courtesy of the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts)

It might be hard to see, but there’s a story in every abstract impressionist painting in the Sandler Center’s next exhibit, said the artist, Gerome Meminger.

Viewers might just have to look “Beneath the Layers” — the name of the exhibit — to find the tale in each of the 24 paintings, he said. The exhibit begins Jan. 6.

After retiring from the U.S. Army as a sergeant first class in 1994, Meminger resorted to old hobbies — painting and drawing — when he could not find the type of art he wanted to hang in his home.

“It was in my head, but no one else had it,” he said.

So he made it himself.

“And it snowballed from there,” he said.

Pretty soon, friends wanted his work in their homes and curators wanted it in their galleries. He has works permanently installed at Hampton University Museum and at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton, according to a release from the Sandler Center. His art has been collected in the U.S. and in Europe, the release said.

Meminger said he always has the picture or story in his mind he wants to express before he picks up a brush.

“If I wait too long, the image and colors slowly fade from my mind and the painting may be lost forever,” Meminger said in the release.

One of his favorite stories and paintings will be among those displayed Jan. 6 through Feb. 29 on the Sandler Center’s second-floor lobby. Called “Chasing the Rabbit,”  it is about working through life’s ups and downs in order to meet one’s goals.

It’s an attitude that has led Meminger to the Sandler Center, he said.

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