Cuban, b. 1915, Havana, Cuba
Core to Carmen Herrera’s painting is a drive for formal simplicity and a striking sense of colour:
“My quest”, she says, “is for the simplest of pictorial resolutions” (2012). A master of crisp lines
and contrasting chromatic planes, Herrera creates symmetry, asymmetry and an infinite variety
of movement, rhythm and spatial tension across the canvas with the most unobtrusive application
of paint. As she moved towards pure, geometric abstraction in the post-war years in Paris, she
exhibited alongside Theo van Doesburg, Max Bill and Piet Mondrian and a younger generation of
Latin American artists, such as members of the Venezuelan Los Disidentes, Brazilian Concretists
and the Argentinian Grupo Madi. Her work also chimed with painters from the US school such as
Barnett Newman, Leon Polk Smith and Ellsworth Kelly. Reflecting on this period, she says,
“I began a lifelong process of purification, a process of taking away what isn’t essential” (2005).
While allied with Latin American non-representational concrete painting, Herrera’s body of work
has established, quietly but steadily, a cross-cultural dialogue within the international history of
She has also had solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2016),
the Museum Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern, (2010) and Museo del Barrio, New York (1998).
Her work is in numerous public and private collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York;
the Tate Collection, London; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC; The Smithsonian American Art Museum,
Washington DC and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.