A Playful Act of Creation; the work of Ruben Herrera

‘My proposal is a journey to the origin, to the genesis and even further back: to the original chaos. That is why, every time I paint, I try to repeat the playful act of creation.’
Ruben Herrera was born in Chilecito a village in the Argentinian Andes. The monumental landscape, the character of the inhabitants, the history and culture of the region later became of fundamental importance to his future artistic development. From a young age he comes to understand that the various phenomena of nature can merely be translated through interpretations. As a Painter and Sculptor he chooses his tools and techniques carefully to show his specific version of reality.
Rooted in Latin American culture and continuing in the European painting tradition, Ruben Herrera has found a completely idiosyncratic imagery. The influence of his Argentine origins are evident in the way Herrera tries to convey his vision of the world around us. His earlier work reflects his political stance towards the predicaments his native country was facing at that time. Subsequently the emphasis shifted towards other themes, preoccupations and investigations.
A long standing theme in Herrera’s work is the concept of creation itself. In his painting he manages to offer us a layered approach to what it means to create.

The Creation
‘In my paintings I try to follow the same road as the original Creation; the movements of my hand are guided by the chaos of the subconscious where the images are lying in wait, anticipating the gaze that will recognise them as shapes, they are ever present, and in one gesture I bring their maelstrom to a halt, before the frame of the painting, where I am waiting to shake the dust of them that accumulated during their long journey and place them under a blue sky, a bright sun and present them to you. Like us these images are simply here.’

The painting as a conduit
His paintings start of with bold, rapid brushstrokes placed without a plan to define a shape. Sometimes the paint is thrown on the canvas. Other times it is dripped or scraped on with a variety of tools.  The result is a swirling surface of form and colour. His intention is to recreate a form of chaos from which he allows his subconscious to gradually discover shapes, figures and patterns. The painting acting as a conduit to channel the impressions, shocks and delights he has internalised from the world around him. In this way the act of creating becomes a game of subtle balance between conscious and subconscious intent. Consequently it is left to the observer to start his own game of discovering, associating and interpreting by interacting with the piece.

A similar process extends to his graphic work. Here chaos is created by digging through stacks of fragments of old linoleum cuts and woodcuts that Herrera saved from past work. He reassembles them in a new configuration as a collage of a body of work that stretches two decades.  Again new meaning and association is given to the maelstrom of undefined potential.

Another central theme in his work is Indeterminacy. Herrera has the firm conviction that nothing in this world is completely and irrevocably defined. In his painting a landscape can transform into a human figure and dissolve into a landscape again. Beginning becomes end and then beginning again.  All is fluid, multifaceted and interchangeable. The figures that populate his paintings are often ambiguous in nature. It’s unclear whether they are human figures, plant-like or animals. The origin of these figures can be traced to very diverging sources of inspiration. In the series WEAPONS Herrera draws from African projectiles used to throw at birds to catch them in mid-flight. Another source are ancient signs and symbols from lost civilisations used by Herrera in his SYMBOLS series.

Internationally known
Ruben Herrera has won awards at international concours like the Salon Grafique in Marseille and the Michel de Ghelderode Concours in Brussels. His work has been exhibited in Canada China and various European and Latin American countries. His work forms part of private and public collections in the Netherlands. His work has also been used in the cover designs of thirty novels by Julio Cortázar, Gabriel García Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa for the Dutch publisher Meulenhoff and the Spanish publisher Plaza y Janés.

louis vuitton bags chanel bags chanel bags