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.”