Monday, June 7, 2010

Carmen Herrera: The "IT" Girl of the Art World!

Last week Gustavo Valdés and I went to visit "Carmen Herrera-Recent Works" at Frederico Seve Gallery at 37 W. 57th St., in the distinguished gallery district of New York. We were not really prepared for the breathtaking impact that caused in us the overpowering installation of Herrera’s new masterpieces.
This exhibition definitely shows the "It" Girl of the Art World-today at her very best.
Carmen Herrera/Black and Yellow/Acrylic on canvas/72X72in./2009.

Back in 1980 Ernesto Briel and I, were lucky enough to be introduced to the art of Carmen Herrera by Florencio García Cisneros, a man who deeply appreciated her art as well. Later on we had the privilege of meeting Carmen when Gustavo Valdés curated a show of recent works by Carmen Herrera and Ernesto Briel. The show titled "Duo Geo" was presented in the Fall of 1992 at Jadite Galleries, New York.
Chance had me accompanying scholar and author Diana Alvarez to her interview with Carmen which appeared earlier this year in Linden Line Magazine whose later issue was dedicated to the great Cuban abstractionist. And I was thrilled to be the one taking pictures of the unforgettable event.
One of my pictures at Carmen Herrera' studio with Diana at the Window.

In my recent post about Ernesto Briel's Tribute in commemoration of Mariel’s 25th Anniversary I referred to a few artists who were followers of Kazimir Malevich in the years and decades after the Russian master made his art. Some other “few” artists have followed up to now the same line of work and have remained strictly faithful to geometry in art.
In general, the making of visual art is a solitary act. In the art-making-world, a geometric artist is a true solitaire.
They are always labeled as moderns. But are they abstractionists or representational artists?
Carmen Herrera / Pasado / Acrylic on canvas / 72X72in. 2010.

Circles, squares, stripes, dots, triangles, etc. are very recognizable shapes. When representing art, what do they mean?
All the elements of what we see as abstract art today were always incredibly present throughout the whole "classic" history of art. That was the most brilliant message I found when reading –as a young man- José Ortega y Gasset's "La deshumanización del arte." These elements are: shape, background, composition, balance, color, harmony, texture, treatment of surface, strokes, visible and unperceivable strokes. Ortega y Gasset sees all these elements as a "glass window" through which we are able to see any "specific theme" in a style chosen by the artist: portrait, landscape, still-life, etc. Ortega y Gasset goes further to explains that, what the "modern artist" does is precisely work with the "glass itself" with the main purpose of finishing the artwork while ignoring the traditional "theme" as an exclusive goal.
Even though the figurative aspect of "classic" art was still present in many of the modern artistic productions of the avant-guard movement, the latter has been under the furious attack of overdoses of self expression. Hence, it’s safe to asseverate that not everything modern was abstract, and neither was Geometric Art.


  1. I thank Gustavo for the final "strokes" on my text.

  2. Es una alegría que exista el arte de Carmen Herrera, Ernesto Briel y Cepp Selgas. Muchas gracias

  3. Beautiful new paintings by Carmen. Lovely tribute to the great dame of contemporary Cuban art.