Wednesday, 28 December 2011

New abstract paintings of Carmen Herrera, Lisson Gallery, London in 2012

An exhibition of the artist Carmen Herrara is taking place at the Lisson Gallery, London from 1st February - 3rd March 2012. 

Carmen Herrera, 'Red with White Triangle' (1961), Acrylic on canvas, 
48 x 66 inches, Private Collection, New York, (This work is probably not going to be in the show)

I had the opportunity some years ago to visit the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana, Cuba and see for myself the modernist paintings that echoed the major avant-garde movements taking place in Europe and America through the Twentieth Century. Even though the artists were cut off politically and culturally after the revolution, there was evidence of a rich engagement with their practice and an independent spirit and passion for painting.

Herrara, who was born in 1915, came out of that international experimental and Romantic ideal forged in the 1940's by many painters and shows an influence from Barnett Newman (listen to MOMA 'Vir Hiroicus Sublimis' multi-media description here) and Abstract Expressionism developed  through her subsequent travels in America, where she settled in New York since 1954) and Europe (living in France for a while) and a unique and passionate response to abstraction through her reductive abstract paintings. Through time she refined her focus, playing with symmetry and asymmetry, flatness and depth, illusion and the physicality of painting. The Ikon Gallery, Birmingham held a large scale retrospective of her work in 2009. This new exhibition at Lisson should be a very exciting example of her recent developments.

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