The Eye of the Beholder
Every artist, to some extent, grapples with the concept of beauty. Its subjective nature lends it an abstractness that is susceptible to perspective, emotions, whims and fancies. It is intangible and ephemeral. An artist can only hope for a convergence of minds and souls with viewers, because it is on this plane that beauty is conceived.
Lorena Herrero is no different than any other artist in her striving towards an aesthetic. She endeavors to instill her etchings with a balance and harmony that is born of her psyche – the emotional space from which she creates – but also engages her audience. She does this by painstakingly etching her vision into metal so that she can bring it to life for her viewer.
Full of Sweet Nothing, 2013
Her more recent works explore the conceptual and abstract. This is a departure from her earlier figurative imagery and it gives her a freedom and flexibility that has allowed her imagination unbounded rein. Freeing her expression from the construct of the figurative not only permits her greater liberties, it also gives her viewers the creative and emotional freedom to delve into her printed world and form their own conceptions of beauty.
At first glance, the medium of etching would seem ill-suited for an exploration of the abstract. The method itself, which involves carving through a waxy substance into metal and then searing the exposed metal surface with acid, is suggestive of a permanence and deliberateness that seem to contradict the very nature of the abstract.
Lorena Herrero, however, feels differently. Her desire to explore the boundaries between symmetry and asymmetry, harmony and discord force her to relinquish a bit of her control to the process. The results are a kind of ordered chaos. The geometry of her work retains an element of deliberateness: straight lines, with concrete and visible endings and beginnings. However, their placement is at times intentional and at times left to chance, guided by an undefined notion of what she deems beautiful.
Then Begins to Get Dark, 2015
Though the nature of intaglio is intentional and purposeful, there is another element to this art form. The process in and of itself gives rise to two works of art: the very permanent and enduring metal panel, which once carved and bathed in acid is immutable, and the print, which arises through its own elaborate process. There is a duality.
And inasmuch as the randomness of beauty can be depicted using deliberate geometric form, so too can the print showcase the transience of the metal panel. The print, though a reflection of the metal panel, assumes its own identity, one that goes hand in hand with the elements of production: ink, water, paper. So upon closer inspection, this duality makes etching a medium that can embody both deliberateness and randomness. That sounds very much like abstraction.
The Staggering Blow, 2013
The Formless Form
Herrero admits to a correlation between her life experiences and the obvious shift in her subject matter. Her desire to create without being restricted by the figurative was the inspiration for her use of geometry. Forms are malleable. They can be stretched, extended, interlaced to create her vision.
And when offering a glimpse into her intimate personal world she needs to remain flexible. She can not be restrained by the use of the familiar characters and symbols that appeared in her initial prints. These are images that already evoke their own associations. In order for Herrero to keep her expression accessible to her audience, she had to leave plenty of space for interpretation. There is a certain irony here. In essence, she has used forms to convey and communicate formlessness.
The Dazzling Flashes of lightning, 2015