Now recognised as a pioneer of geometric abstraction and Latin American Modernism, the compositions of Herrera (b1915) are striking in their formal simplicity and heavily influenced by her architectural studies at the University of Havana.
Combining line, form and space; the geometric division of the canvas with shapes or lines complemented by blocks of colour, form the structural basis for each work. Often comprising just two colours, forms are put into vivid relationships recalling the inherent two-dimensional features of painting whilst conveying an intense physicality.
Recognition came late for Herrera who sold her first artwork at age 89. After six decades of very private painting, Herrera’s work was exhibited publicly and she was instantly recognised as a pioneer. Quickly prominent collectors began adding her works to their collections.
Since coming to the attention of art historians and collectors her paintings have joined the permanent collections of several institutions including the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Walker Art Center, El Museo del Barrio in New York and the Tate Modern. The exhibition at Lisson Gallery is only one of only a handful of exhibitions to have featured the artist in a career spanning over six decades.
Born in Havana, Herrera grew up as one of seven siblings. Her father was the founding editor of the newspaper El Mundo, and her mother a reporter at the paper.
Herrera has lived and worked in New York since 1954. Solo exhibitions include Museum Pfalzgalerie, Kaiserslautern (2010); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2009); Miami Art Central (2005); Museo del Barrio, New York (1998). Group exhibitions include Deutche Bank, New York (2010); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2007); Discovery Museum, Bridgeport (1997); Community College Art Gallery, City University of New York (1996).
Carmen Herrera. 1 February – 3 March 2012. Lisson Gallery, 29 Bell Street, London NW1 5BY. Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 11am-5pm. Additional info at ArtCriticismToday.net