Arturo Herrera

Arturo Herrera

Exhibition: Mar 9 – Apr 16, 2000

During his Artpace residency, Arturo Herrera produced multiple bodies of work including sculpture, paintings, prints, works on paper and architectural installations. The works continue Herrera’s investigations of content and form, working with fragmented images from popular culture.

In his new panel paintings, incised lines wind their way across the wooden surfaces. Painted a rich color, the linear trace invites interpretation: is it the marking from a map, the contour of a body or a form from nature? In another series of panel paintings, Herrera shapes the wood into curved abstractions, which suggest fragments of things or space. The surface of these works, precisely finished in solid colors, appear manufactured, yet the ambiguous shapes—neither industrial nor natural—ultimately suggest the cultural.

In another series, small-scale metal sculptures rest on the floor. Again, a reductive line is the source. Embellished with a brightly colored paint, the grounded sculptures are humorous and ambiguously sexual.

Working with Hare and Hound Press in San Antonio, Herrera has produced two editions of prints and photogravures. These works on paper extract and rearrange lines from popular sources with the staccato rhythm of animated cartoons. The relief prints contain negative space of white lines on a soft, baby blue foreground, evoking childhood memories in a dense, urban composition. Herrera’s photogravures are reductive and minimalist, containing graphic black lines on a crisp white surface.

Herrera’s work, playing a balancing act between abstraction and representation, shifts scale, experiments with form and ultimately, leaves itself wide open to the viewer. “The new works investigate a range of psychological impacts,” the artist comments. “The efficacy of fragmented forms provokes various levels of corporeal and intellectual resonance. I am interested in the effect of non-linear and associative readings on the viewer and the potential of painted space to be an intimate receptacle for the imagination and an aesthetic experience.”


Arturo Herrera

New York, New York, USA

Herrera was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1959, and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Tulsa and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He currently lives and works in Berlin.
Arturo Herrera´s multilayered body of work includes collages, painted wood sculptures, photographs, cut felt pieces and wall works. Using a fragmented language – whose lingering references range from popular culture to art history – to decontextualize inherent narratives without eradicating the coded referentiality of the image. The resulting works shift in between the explicit and the implicit. A pliability of meaning is played out trough the ambiguity of figurative and abstract forms. These forms do not enforce a specific message. Instead, they address the fragmentation and recomposition of mass-cultural elements to explore the impact of the adultered language of abstraction into the collective gaze.
Herrera’s site specific installations in 2017 can be found at the Officine Grandi Riparazioni / OGR in Turin; Bloomberg European Headquarters in London; and at the West Elm building at 8366 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles in conjunction with the exhibition How to Read El Pato Pascual: Disney’s Latin America and Latin America’s Disney organized by the MAK Center for Art and Architecture. In 2016, Tate Modern commissioned Herrera to create a long-term wall painting for the sixth-floor restaurant.
Herrera’s solo and project-based exhibitions have been held at Haus am Waldsee, Berlin; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK; Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, UK; The Art Institute of Chicago, IL; The Aldridge Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; daadgalerie, Berlin; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; CGAC, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Dia Center for the Arts, NY; Art Gallery of Ontario; ICA Philadelphia; The UCLA Hammer Museum, MoMA, NY; and The Renaissance Society of the University of Chicago. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation and the DAAD, Berlin.

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Photo by Dominik Gigler

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