Grab a stool at the Welcome Desk and take a seat in front of Carmen Herrera's painting, Untitled, located in the Sally and Michael Gordon Gallery.
Begin the looking process by drawing this work of art. (If you have a gridded notebook, you are in sync with Herrera's artistic process as that is the type of paper she often uses when sketching out her ideas.)
Create a list of words to describe what you see.
Herrera's style is often thought of as hard-edged or geometric abstraction. She uses geometric shapes, colors, and forms in a way that emphasizes the flatness of the picture surface. You can barely discern her brushstrokes, and the color she uses is often an intense and vibrant monochromatic hue.
How do you think this work of art was made? What sort of art tools do you think were used? What might have been done first? second?
Herrera uses a variety of tools to get the straight lines and edges—masking tape, tracing paper, grid paper, triangles, and rulers. She considers both color and shape at the same time, testing out different colors on different shapes in different arrangements before making final choices.
As her work evolved, her compositions largely became two-color works, and she most often chose geometric forms made with straight lines, such as the trapezoid shape you see in this work.
Herrera's architectural studies had a strong affect on her. She once said, "I wouldn't paint the way I do if I hadn't gone to architecture school." Do you see any traces of these experiences in her painting?
One architectural part of her process is not visible; she creates small, preparatory drawings to test out the color and placement of shapes, adding final dimensions to the drawing so they are to scale, very much like a blueprint.
Any final thoughts about what you believe motivated the artist to create this work?