Carmen Herrera at the Whitney
Being twenty nine so far has been weird, wonderful, and difficult. Being a young woman is a similar mix. And not to mention that trying to find creative meaning and practice in life--I don't equate that with a creative job, I follow Virginia Wolf's Room of One Own's guide to always having your own--is also similarly a trifecta of deliciously hard.
In thinking about the struggle of women for creative recognition, this fall I discovered Carmen Herrera through her first major exhibit in more than two decades at The Whitney. She's 100 years old and finally getting a retrospective! That fact alone made me smile. Just thinking about her tough attitude on art makes me feel like it's easier to get anything done in life, creative or not. It's the kind of attitude I want for 2017.
Herrera is a Cuban American artist, a part of the history of abstract expressionism in the 20th century and yet she've never quite got her due like this, never had her rightful time the sun. She didn't even sell her first painting until 89, if you can believe it. She was born in Cuba, moved to New York and Paris, and found her voice in the early 1950's as other more well known male abstract expressionists were taking the scene.
Her minimalist, arresting painting described as "an art of crisp, clear straight lines, of pure color and pure shape. Her paintings are cut to their bare minimum, but it would be wrong to describe them as sparse or restrained. Their solid colors are arranged so that they teem with energy, whether effervescent"
I feel as though this story, her work of strong, straight lines composed with bright and visually powerful colors, can resonate with anyone, especially this year, especially with women who strive for things outside themselves. Her exhibit is up through January 9th, a good way to ring in the New Year.