Thomas Dane Gallery is pleased to present ‘Faculty Band’, an exhibition of new works by Arturo Herrera. For his third solo exhibition in London, the artist has conceived a painting show as a complete environment. The installation will feature mixed media paintings hung on custom made wallpaper, printed from his own photographs of wall paintings found in buildings in Berlin, where he lives and works.
For the past fifteen years, Herrera has developed a multi-layered body of work - collages, painted wood sculptures, paper cut-outs, felt pieces and wall paintings – that blends an excitingly broad array of references and methods, from modernist strategies of fragmentation, re-composition and repetition, to the highs and lows of popular and elite Western culture, and to the kinetic art / public art ventures of his native Venezuela in the Fifties and Sixties.
Until 2012, and culminating with the completion of his concurrent ‘Series’ exhibitions in Chicago, New York and London, Herrera‘s explorations in collage utilised found and painted paper fragments from popular and other culture artefacts, rendered almost illegible and compressed into flat, multicoloured compositions.
Now, with ‘Faculty Band’, he presents works that are radically novel, both in technique and scale, and the closest to ‘making’ a painting the artist has ever been. Here, Herrera makes his paintings literally into paintings: by emphasising their three-dimensionality and by revealing their constructive, accretive nature as well as by combining the traditional media associated with painting-making - linen, canvas - with everyday materials such as cloth bags, felt and commercial banners. This layering process brings together his own vocabulary with that of Georges Braque, Kurt Schwitters, Daniel Spoerri and David Hammons, and in a real ‘tour-de-force’, they simultaneously reveal the secrets and entrails of their own making, as well as accumulating layers, planes and ‘veils’ that render their ‘whole’/unified examination almost impossible.
These will be ‘punctuated’ by more intimate objects: small paintings made from/onto flea-market books, from a whole variety of genres. The books, now with their pages sealed in by the spills, marks and drips of the painting process, are transformed into ready-made grounds for gestural abstraction. They ressemble a painter’s study or variations on Paul Serusier’s ‘Talisman’, proposing a new kind of reading, both obliterated and open-ended, both as signifier and signified.
All the works in ‘Faculty Band’ move away from the psychological metaphor of ‘collage-cutting’ prevalent in the artist‘s previous work. These object-based paintings point to the chaotic state of Abstraction today by using a determinedly fragmented language and acknowledging an even broader range of references.