Paintings on Paper
New York, 138 Tenth Avenue
Carmen Herrera, now at 102, sold her first painting at the age of 89, although her paintings of striking colors and geometric shapes have been at the center of her life since she started studying drawing at Marymount School in Paris in 1929. Throughout her life, which she spent between Paris, Havana and New York, Herrera witnessed groundbreaking political and artistic movements, while her practice remained loyal to geometric abstraction. Herrera’s 2016 The Whitney retrospective Lines of Sight somewhat was the art world’s long overdue tribute to the artist who has been under the spotlight ever since.
Paintings on Paper, her Lisson Gallery exhibition that opens at the gallery’s new Tenth Avenue location, furthers the conversation around her work. Introducing her current body of work, the exhibition focuses on her densely-colored paintings on paper. While green, orange, and black dominate her color spectrum, sharpe-edged forms pierce through the monochromic surface, orchestrating a balance of shape and hue.
“Male artists such as Ellsworth Kelly and Barnett Newman (a neighbor and friend, with whom she used to breakfast every Sunday) were ploughing a similar furrow and being rewarded for it, but success continued to elude her. It seemed that geometric abstractions were just dandy, so long as you weren’t a woman,” writes Simon Hattenstone in his 2016 The Guardian article about his visit to Herrera’s New York studio during her The Whitney exhibition.
Paintings on Paper runs through June 10th.