Nicholas Herrera’s exhibit at EVOKE Contemporary, “Corazon Y Alma (Heart and Soul),” fits right into the spirit of the holiday season. The image of the heart is seen in works in the show.
Herrera, who was born and raised in the small northern New Mexico village of El Rito, is a folk artist whose relatives were among the early settlers who came to New Mexico with Juan de Oñate y Salazar in 1598. His work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe.
“I am drawn to Nicholas’ art because it’s authentic and truthful,” says EVOKE Gallery owner Kathrine Erickson. “It comes from within, not from the outside. That can’t be faked. Nicholas paints from his soul.”
According to Erickson, Herrera was labeled as a special ed student due to dyslexia and had a wild youth in which he indulged in drugs and alcohol. During his 20s he was involved in a car accident, which put him in a coma. The experience profoundly changed his life.
“He decided to dedicate his life to art,” Erickson explains. “He has a message, and he must communicate it every day through his art.”
The colors in Herrera’s Bultos, Retablos, paintings on wood and bronze pieces are created with natural pigments. Images vary from religious icons of his Catholic faith to images of the hardships of rural life and the demons of drugs and alcohol. He will be in the gallery for the show’s opening reception on December 29.