Selected works by Federico Herrero

Federico Herrero
Amansalva

2014

Mixed media on canvas

270 x 220 x 5.5 cm

© Osei Bonsu, 2014

Federico Herrero
Zipacn√°

2014

Mixed media on canvas

270 x 290 x 5.5 cm
Federico Herrero
Barco

2008

Mixed media on canvas

300 x 500 cm

Federico Herrero’s tropically coloured geometric compositions have been painted on floors, walls, parking garages and even buses around the world. Such is the widespread application that encountering these compositions as singular objects can lead one to forget how they came into being in the first place. Since Herrero began hanging his work on trees in his native of San José, Costa Rica, the enduring aesthetic of the artist’s expansive paintings continues to appear in a range of forms and permutations. On Herrero’s colourful planes, landscapes of mental processes map a chromatic and compositional subjectivity. Beginning as an encounter with a site, which could be the surface of a canvas or a public façade, the artist’s characteristic style envelopes space to force renewed understandings of distance and proximity.

Federico Herrero
Untitled

2008

Mixed media on canvas

300 x 500 cm

Herrero’s unrestricted sense of space brings together the site of artistic production and a conception of public space unique to the urban environment of San José. Growing up in a city marked by a complete lack of urban planning can be chaotic, but it is the geography of such activity that influences Herrero’s paintings. At times they appear to show an aerial view of downtown areas, with its old Spanish grid model disbanding into an endless labyrinth of seemingly never-ending suburbs (Amansalva, 2014).
In another moment, they transgress outlines becoming neither pictorial nor linguistic forms of communication. They intercept the logic of urbanism, one that does not grow vertically but horizontally creating a continuous and undefined periphery.

Federico Herrero
'A' invertida

2011

Mixed media on canvas

197.5 x 146 cm

Herrero’s paintings offer as many possible readings as they do layers of colour and form. The roofs and ceilings of San José, with rectangles of various shades of cadmium yellow (Zipacna, 2014), recall the colour palettes of Brazilian modernism. Meanwhile, the flat masses of paint in blue and green that descend into pastel colours of pink, sky-blue, violet and orange (Untitled, 2008) reveal an even broader visual spectrum. Each painting is the continuation of another; they propose a version of events, a map of subconscious dreams and fantasies illuminated by the artist’s interior world. Herrero’s abstractions are rather like mental forms distorted by personal memories from daily experiences of a local environment.
They are also immediately accessible to a spectator, who might view this surface tension (shapes, colours, forms) as friendly and playful compositions of a social intent. The pluralism of visual culture allows for a mutability of meanings, making Herrero’s fantastical dream world of complex mental territories one of universality.


Articles

FEDERICO HERRERO
PROYECTOS MONCLOVA, Artforum

Costa Rican artist Federico Herrero‚Äôs solo exhibition ‚ÄúLetters and Volumes‚ÄĚ is a refreshingly light read on the subject of painting‚ÄĒa light read that is, however, not devoid of a solid measure of complexity. For the artist‚Äôs first show at this gallery, he has occupied both levels of the space‚ÄĒthe main gallery and the basement below. The space above features five of the large-scale abstractions the artist is known for alongside a selection of basic wood and concrete sculptures, which the artist sees more as supports. These include a miniature Ping-Pong table, a concrete floor-bound plane, and a U-shaped table whose surface has been partially animated with strips of blue and green paint.

The paintings themselves, particularly Amansalva and Zipacn√°, both 2014, are characterized by a predominance of flat, uninflected integers of bright, luminescent color, which stack up and accrue, like so many uneven shingles, with the daydreamy logic of a baroque doodle. Despite all the crowded activity, which seems more analogous to unchecked urban growth than anything pastoral, the dominance of blues and greens renders the works more evocative of a rural setting. They could be improbable cartoon landscapes seen from a plane window.

Source: artforum.com


FEDERICO HERRERO: THE COLOUR AND THE SHAPE
The Culture Trip

Costa Rica’s capital city is sunny San José, the inspiration and occasional theater for the work of Federico Herrero, a painter who enjoys international success both commercially and critically. Federico Rosa explores the playful yet political quality of his work.

Federico Herrero holds an unpretentious belief in painting as an oficio or trade. For him, painting is an involved and intricate craft as well as an act of communication and expression. His work bears a strong visual relation to the tradition of ‚Äėcolour field‚Äô painters: Mark Rothko and Morris Louis; artists who made flat colour compositions that intended to avoid a symbolic or literal interpretation, focusing instead on the formal aspects of a painting with colour as the fulcrum. Herrero is similarly infatuated with colour, which is visible in his vibrant works, a unique blend of expression and playfulness that also borrows from the language of street art to create his own brand of socially engaged painting.

Herrero first came to prominence at the 2001 Venice Biennale, where the artist, then only 21, painted what appeared to be a haphazard growth of colours in one of the exhibition walls that, nonetheless, were carefully painted shapes that balanced spontaneity and formal elegance. This wall painting is evocative of street art, with vibrant tropical landscapes, and a suggestion of social decay. Herrero deftly managed to incorporate the architectural space in playful ways, adapting it to the final composition.

Source: theculturetrip.com


DIMENSIONAL COLOUR: THE ART OF FEDERICO HERRERO
Apartment Therapy

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.

Source: apartmentherapy.com