(left) Installation view (Sies + Höke Galerie, Düsseldorf), 2008 (right) Installation view (Bridgette Meyer Gallery, Philadelphia), 2012
One could say that Costa Rican artist Federico Herrero loves color, and that might be true. Yet, a more accurate statement would be that Herrero loves the effects of color - the tensions created by neighboring hues, the spatial manipulation of background and foreground, and contrast of vibrant pigments against an urban landscape.
Federico's story is unusual, but at the same time, fitting for an artist born and raised in San José, a city center surrounded by nature. In 2000, he was 22, and hanging small pictures from the trees in downtown. One year later, he won the award for best young artist at the Venice Biennale, and has since emerged as one of the most important visual artists of Central America.
His work reflects the vibrant, tropical and chaotic urban-ness of a city at the edge of an encroaching jungle. In his pieces, organic, geometric shapes jostle against each other, clamoring for a piece of canvas. They creep along the edges, and often break free of the frame entirely, wending onto the walls and into the crevices of his installations spaces. Recognizably a muralist, Herrero considers himself first and foremost, a painter, as it is the application of pigment onto a surface that drives him - be it a canvas, a brick wall, or a glass fronted gallery. He blurs the lines between the studio and the street, and sees each piece, regardless of its location as a continuation of the one before it. Federico does not plan or sketch out his paintings in advance, but instead lets the tension of color and form guide each and every brushstroke. His paintings are colorful, but ultimately, they are expressions of space - the absence of space, the abundance of space and what happens when one impinges upon the other.
Federico Herrero has exhibited his work in solo and group shows around the world, but until now, has never has a solo show in the United States. His newest exhibition, "Paintings," is showing February 3rd - February 25, 2012, at the Bridgette Meyer Gallery in Philadelphia.
More on Federico Herrero:
• One Question: Federico Herrero
• A Conversation Between Federico Herrero And Jens Hoffmann
• Federico Herrero, Street Mural At Wattis San Francisco
(Images: 1. Bridgette Meyer Gallery 2. Sies + Höke 3. Centre For The Aesthetic Revolution 4. Contemporary Art Gallery 5. Centre For The Aesthetic Revolution 6. Bridgette Meyer Gallery 7. Sies + Höke 8. Art News 9. Sies + Höke 10a. Sies + Höke b. Bridgette Meyer Gallery)