Majored in Painting and drawing at the Professional School of Plastic Arts in Camagüey from 1993 to 1998. At a very young age one of his works “Desnudo de Juan Pablo II “(” John Paul II in the nude”) is chosen for the Special Magazine that was published due to the Pope’s visit to Cuba in 1998, it in our country. He imparted the arts of Drawing, Painting and Appreciation of the Arts in community projects in Vertientes, Camagüey, and Havana City and in various institutions around the world. He has being a professor in Drawing and Painting to students’ of the 3rd and 4th years at the Professional School of Plastic Arts in Camagüey. He has carried out curatorial works in personal and collective exhibitions inside and outside of Cuba.
With more than 30 personal exhibitions, he has also participated in numerous collective projects.
His work is included in several private collections in countries like Germany, France, Spain, U.S., Switzerland, Denmark, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Canada, Italy, England, Bahamas, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Greece, Costa Rica, Andorra, Argentina, Japan, China, Holland, Belgium, Lebanon, Brazil. Etc.
He obtained the World Quality Commitment Prize in the Gold Category, from the International Convention IDB to the Quality, Innovation and Excellency. Paris, France 2014.
2016 “Puzzle.” Central Park Hotel. Guest of Iberostar. FIT Cuba 2016.
2016 “Puzzle.” Antonia Eiriz´s Anniversary. Antonia Eiriz´s. Havana. Cuba.
2016 “Outside the game.” Panorama Hotel. Havana Cuba.
2015 Donation of a masterpiece to Armando Hart Dávalos. On account of the XX Anniversary of the José Martí Cultural Society. In the National Museum of Fine Arts.
2015 “Outside the game”. 12th International biennial of Havana. Maternal Home “Doña Leonor Pérez Cabrera.” Old Havana.
2015 Donation of masterpieces for the Ceremony Awards of the Nicolás Guillén and Alejo Carpentier Contests in the International Book Fair.
2015 “Valentine´s Day”. With Bárbara Sánchez Novoas a guest. Gato Tuerto (One-eyed Cat). Havana. Cuba.
2015 Award of a masterpiece to the World Champion of the Iron Man Competition. Havana. Cuba.
2014 UNICEF award with an artwork to the film “Conducta” (Behavior), in the Habana Film Festival.
2014 Donation to the “Zenén Casas Regueiros” Rehabilitation Center for Kids. Old Havana. Cuba.
2014 “Verse to verse”. Templet. Old Havana. Havana. Cuba.
2014 “Verse to verse” Production and General Direction of a mega Concert with artistic talents such as Gerardo Alfonso, Raúl Torres, Lyn Milanés, Luna Manzanares, Ivette Cepeda, David Blanco, Miriela Moreno, Polito Ibáñez, David Torrens, X Alfonso, Tony Ávila, Buena Fe y Descemer Bueno. With the purpose of donating the funds collected to the Oncological Pediatric Hospitals and to Orphanages. Karl Marx. Havana. Cuba.
2014 “Verse to verse” Exhibition in the art gallery at the “Karl Marx” Theater. Havana. Cuba.
2013 “The truth seems a story.” Art Rageous Gallery. Miami. U.S.
2013 ” Party of Princes.” For the 499th Anniversary of the Camagüey City´s foundation. Camagüey. Cuba.
2013 “Tuning of a heritage.” Homage to the 14th Anniversary of the Havana Radio Station. Carmen Montilla Museum. Havana. Cuba.
2012 “Sounds to see.” Regarding the First Biennial of the Cuban Radio.
2012 Public intervention at the Embassies of Bolivia and Venezuela in Berlin, Germany at the “Open Door Policy” in Berlin.
2012 The truth seems a story.” EAGL Gallery. Berlin. Germany.
2012 “The truth seems a story.” Concerning the cover page of the Opus Havana magazine. Of Lombillo´s Palace. Old Havana. Cuba.
2011 “A minute of silence.” Personal curatorship project. Oswaldo Guayasamín Museum. Havana. Cuba. Participating artists: Roberto Fabelo, Pedro Pablo Oliva, Flora Fong, Eduardo Roca (Choco), Zaida del Río, Alicia Leal, Juan Moreira, Ileana Mulet, Alexis Leyva (Kcho), Ernesto Rancaño, Cristian González, Eduardo Abela, Agustín Bejarano, Aziyadé Ruíz, Vicente R.Bonachea, José Omar Torres, Rubén Rodríguez, Carlos Guzmán, Ángel Ramírez, Alex Castro, Ernesto Garcia Peña, Nelson Domínguez, Estereo Segura, Ever Fonseca, Roberto Diago, Adigio Benítez, José Fúster, Áisar Jalil, Ramón Casas, Roberto Chile, Maykel Herrera.
2010 “Retrospective.” Museum Hotel. Turquoise House. Cancun. Mexico.
2010 “I don´t see anything.” Galiano Gallery. City of Havana. Cuba.
2009 “Utopia.” London, England.
2009 “Complete seasoning.” Gato Tuerto (One-eyed Cat). City of Havana.
2008 “Party of Princes.”Radio Rebelde. ICRT. Havana City. Cuba.
2008 “The stone in my shoe.” Paris, France
2008 “Party of Princes.” FEU Headquarters. Havana. With the participation of numerous artists invited to interven the Works such as: Silvio Rodríguez, Carlos Varela, Amaury Pérez, Sara González, Gerardo Alfonso, Alfredito Rodríguez, Liuba María Hevia, Albertico Pujol, Blanca Rosa Blanco, Fernando Pérez, Carlos Ruiz De la Tejera, Iván Pedroso, Filiberto Azcuí, Franco Carbón, Rubiera, Marino Luzardo, Diana Balboa.
2007 “ Retrospective ”. Canadian Embassy. Havana. Cuba.
2007 “Little Princes”. “La Acacia Gallery”. Havana. Cuba.
2005 “Chimera at risk.” Pinacole Building. Miami Beach. U.S.A
2005 “Appearances.” Cultural center. Rome. Italy.
2004 “Appearances.” Ravine of the flowers. Barcelona. Spain.
2004 “Ankylosis.” Center for contemporary art. San Juán. Puerto Rico.
2003 “…, then I exist.” Toronto. Canada.
2002 “…, then I exist.” Contemporary Art Center. Pinacole Building. Miami Beach. U.S
2002 “…, then I exist.” St’ John’s Hotel. Havana City. Cuba
2001 “…, then I exist.” Alejo Carpentier Gallery. Camagüey. Cuba
2001 “Ysla forever.” Project EJO. Camagüey. Cuba
2001 “Sigh in the air.” Cultural Center. Vertientes. . Cuba
2000 “Surprise of a legitimizer”. Rambla de las Flores. Barcelona. Spain.
2000 “Ysla forever.” Julián Morales Gallery. UNEAC. Camagüey. Cuba
1999 “Landscapes.” Municipal Museum. Vertientes. Cuba
1998 “Portraits.” Cultural Center. Vertientes. Cuba
1997 “Portraits of Jesús Suárez Gayol.” Student´s Museum. Camagüey. Cuba
1995 Exhibition of Drawings. Science Day. Music School José White. Camagüey. Cuba.
2015 Exhibition in Homage to Antonia Eiris. Havana. Cuba.
2014 “Anniversary of the Gato Tuerto”. Gato Tuerto (One-eyed Cat). Havana. Cuba.
2012 50th Anniversary of Radio Encyclopedia.” Encyclopedia Radio Station. Havana.
2012 “To create two, three, and many Che…” ALBA Cultural Center. Havana.
2012 “First Encounter of Expressionism Antonia Eiriz.” Maykel Herrera was invited next to Pedro Pablo Oliva, Nelson Domínguez, Flora Fong, Ernesto García Peña, Ever Fonseca y Eduardo Roca (Choco).
2012 “Preview Berlin.” Berlin. Germany. Bipersonal of Maykel Herrera and Rigoberto Mana.
2012 “Berlin Art Week.” Berlin. Germany.
2012 “Berlin Salon.” Berlin. Germany.
2012 “Cuban art”. Eggersberg. Germany.
2012 “Roundtrip.” EAGL Gallery Berlin. Germany.
2012 “Colors of Cuba” EAGL Gallery. Berlin. Germany.
2012 Donation of works to the Cervantes Institute of Berlin, Germany. For the Day of the Spanish Language in Europe. Next to the National Prize of Literature Nancy Morejón and to the plastic artists Juan Arel and Julia Valdez.
2012 Pictorial intervention inside the Magisterial Conference of the National Prize Nancy Morejón, in the Cervantes Institute of Berlin. Germany.
2012 “Kubanische Kunstler.” Stuttgart. Germany.
2012 “Good to have you with us.” Gato Tuerto (One-eyed Cat). Havana. Cuba.
2011 Collective mural. Artex.
2011 “Naples Fair.” Naples. Florida. U.S.
2011 “Urban Dreams.” Kavachnina Contemporary Gallery. Miami, U.S.
2011 ” Publicintimacies”. Teodoro Ramos Gallery. Havana. Cuba.
2011 “A minute of silence.” Personal project of curatorship. Oswaldo Guayasamín Museum. Havana. Cuba.
2010 “Intervention in Emir Santa Cruz´s Concert.” National Museum of Fine Arts.
2010 “Casabe and Matajíbaro.” Ignacio Agramante Museum. Camagüey.
2010 “Link Malaysia.” Seni Johor Gallery. Malaysia.
2010 “Prophecy.” 23rd and 12th Gallery. Havana. Curatorship by Roberto Chile.
2010 “Reflections of Cuba.” Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia.
2010 “This Man is my friend.” Pavilion Cuba. 9th Congress UJC. Havana.
2010 “This Man is my friend.” Gibara´s Municipal Museum. Holguín 8vo Festival of Poor Cinema Humberto Solas
2010 “This Man is my friend.” School for Integral Formation José Martí. Central Celebration for José’s birthday Martí by the MININT
2010 “Link I”. Servando Cabrera Moreno Gallery. Havana. Cuba.
2010 “Colors of Cuba.” Selangor State. Malaysia
2010 “Encounters II.” Art Gallery Luz and Occupations, City of Havana.
2010 “Homage to the 50th anniversary of the Gato Tuerto´s fundation.” National Museum of Fine Arts. Artists: Ever Fonseca, Nelson Domínguez, Zaida del Río y Maykel Herrera.
2010 “Exhibition of small format.” Gallery of the Great theater of Havana.
2010 “Link II.” Argentinean Embassy . Havana. Cuba.
2010 ” In-Cuba-te.” Cancun. Mexico.
2010 Sample of Cuban art in Cancun. Mexico.
2010 “Link III.” Angelus Gallery. YETI. Havana. Cuba.
2010 International Salon for Contemporary Art of Marseille. France
2009 “Greats that make you small¨. UNEAC. Camagüey.
2009 “This man is my friend”. Jose Marti Memorial Square. Havana.
2009 Contemporary Cuban Art in Malaysia.
2009 Art fair of Shanghai. China.
2009 Intervention in a concert by Gerardo Alfonso and Augusto Enríquez. La Zorra y El Cuervo (The Vixen and the Crow). Havana City.
2009 Intervention in a Lin Milanes´s concert. La Zorra y El Cuervo (The Vixen and the Crow).Havana City.
2009 Cuban art in Portugal.
2009 Contemporary Cuban Art in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur City. Malaysia.
2009 Cuban art in Madrid. Spain.
2009 International fair “Cuba Nostalgia.” Miami. USA
2009 Intervention in Jazz concert. La Zorra y El Cuervo (The Vixen and the Crow). Havana.
2009 In Open Sky Project. “To restore you.” Colateral to the X Biennial of Havana. Old Havana.
2009 “Steps in Biennial.” Colateral Expo to the X Biennial of Havana. Old Havana.
2009 Collective Expo. “Encounter.” Riviera Hotel. Havana. Cuba.
2009 Collective Expo. “Encounter.” Luz y Oficios Gallery. Havana. Cuba.
2008 “Rumba of Colors.”Gallery Simonsbakken, Sandnes City, Norway.
2008 Marbella´s Art Fair. Spain.
2008 Exhibition sale in Miami Beach. United States of America.
2008 Exhibition sale in Mexico City. Mexico.
2008 Landscapes Sample. Commodore Hotel. Havana City. Cuba.
2008 Art sample in the Principal Salon at the Gato Tuerto (One-eyed Cat) Havana City. Cuba.
2008 Participation in the auction for the “Art Site” V Anniversary (TV Show). La Casona Art Gallery. Havana City. Cuba.
2007 Havana Libre Hotel. Havana City. Cuba.
2007 Art Sample at the Havana Art Gallery. Havana City. Cuba
2007 ” Commonsouls”. Homage to the artists. Hispanic American Culture Center.
2007 Collective Exhibition. La Acacia Gallery. Havana City. Cuba.
2007 Participation in the Mural of the Project “Reading in Paseo del Prado”.
2007 National encounter of Engraving. Center for the Development of the Visual Arts. Havana City.
2007 “Casabe and matajíbaro.”Santa Clara Convent, Havana City.
2007 Collective Exhibition in the Havana Libre Hotel.
2006 Havana Art gallery. Coffee. Collection Mike Watson. England.
2006 Victor Manuel Art gallery. Havana. Cuba.
2006 “Shapes” Gallery. Havana. Cuba.
2005 “The Cuban reallity.” San Juan. Puerto Rico.
2005 ” Fine painting”. Paris. France.
2005 “Mixed up together.” Toronto. Canada.
2004 City Salon. Havana. Cuba.
2004 Five Cubans. Miami. U.S.
2004 Competition of quick painting. Rome. Italy.
2004 Cuban art. “Fleurde lys” Hotel. San José. Costa Rica.
2003 XIX Salon “Fidelio Ponce de León”. Cuba.
2003 VIII Biennial of Havana. “Among friends” exposition in the Presentation of the “Arts in Sacred Sunday” Magazine. Seville Hotel. Havana City. Cuba
2003 VIII Biennial of Havana. Victor Manuel Gallery. Havana City. Cuba
2003 XIX Provincial Salon Fidelio Ponce. Alejo Carpentier Gallery, Camagüey. Cuba
2003 National Painting, Sculpture and Engraving Contest. PMA in action 2004. Center for the Development of the Visual Arts. Havana City.
2003 II Biennial of Plastic arts and Mental Health 2003. Havana City. Cuba
2003 Playa Salon “Servando Cabrera Moreno”.2003 Havana City. Cuba
2003 Collective mural NOT TO THE WAR. March. Havana City. Cuba
2002 Plastic Arts’ National Salon “Fayad Jamís.”Emir Abdel Kader Gallery, Arab Union of Cuba. Havana City. Cuba
2002 XVIII Provincial Salon Fidelio Ponce. Alejo Carpentier Gallery, Camagüey. Cuba
2002 XI City Salon. Alejo Carpentier Gallery. Camagüey. Cuba
2002 “Reencounter” Plastic Artists, Camagüey-Havana City. Cuba
2002 Homage to the Historian’s Office by Camagüey City´s Plastic artists. Historian Office Headquarters. Camagüey. Cuba
2001 Homage to the Historian’s Office by Camagüey City´s Plastic artists. Historian Office Headquarters. Camagüey. Cuba
2001 XVII Provincial Salon of Plastic arts Fidelio Ponce. Alejo Carpentier Gallery. Camagüey.
2001 Homage to the Historian’s Office by Camagüey City´s Plastic artists. Alejo Carpentier Gallery. Camagüey. Cuba
2001 X City Salon. Alejo Carpentier Gallery. Camagüey. Cuba
2000 Guernica Salon. Art Gallery. Nuevitas. Camagüey. Cuba
2000 XVI Provincial Salon of Plastic arts Fidelio Ponce. Alejo Carpentier Gallery. Camagüey. Cuba
2000 “Moon in the ALBA.” Cultural Center. Vertientes. Camagüey. Cuba
2000 Bipersonal Expo. Cultural Center. Vertientes. Camagüey. Cuba
2000 IX City Salon. Alejo Carpentier Gallery. Camagüey. Cuba
1999 New Year’s Eve Salon. MIRA Gallery. Cultural Center for the Young Creator. Camagüey.
1999 XV Provincial Salon of Plastic Arts. Fidelio Ponce. Alejo Carpentier Gallery. Camagüey. Cuba
1999 Art Instructor´s Salon. Community Cultural Center. Camagüey. Cuba
1999 Exhibition of Drawings. Matanzas. Cuba
1999 VIII City Salon. Alejo Carpentier Gallery. Camagüey. Cuba
1998 X Graduation of Plastic Arts Students. Julián Morales Gallery. UNEAC. Camagüey. Cuba
1998 Eduardo Abela Salon. Cultural Center. Vertientes. Camagüey. Cuba
1997 XIII Provincial Salon of Plastic Arts Fidelio Ponce. Provincial Center for the Plastic Arts. Camagüey. Cuba
1997 Eduardo Abela Salon. Cultural Center. Vertientes. Camagüey. Cuba
1996 Art collection by Students from the Camagüey´s School of Plastic Arts. El Mayor´s Natal House. Cuba
1996 V City Salon. Alejo Carpentier Gallery. Camagüey. Cuba
1996 Exhibition of Plastic arts’ Students of Camagüey. MIRA Gallery. Cultural Center for the Young Creator. Cuba
1995 Landscapes Salon. School of Plastic Arts of Camagüey. Alejo Carpentier Gallery. Camagüey. Cuba
1994 Drawing Salon. School of Plastic Arts of Camagüey. Gallery Moves Away Carpentier.
PRIZES AND RECOGNITIONS:
2014 World Quality Commitment Prize in the Gold Category, from the International Convention IDB to the Quality, Innovation and Excellency. Paris, France 2014
2002 Mention at the XVIII Provincial Salon Fidelio Ponce. Alejo Carpentier Gallery, Camagüey. Cuba
2002 Mention XI City Salon. Camagüey. Cuba
2000 Mention.XVI Provincial Salon Fidelio Ponce. Alejo Carpentier Gallery. Camagüey. Cuba
2000 Great Prize and Prize AHS. Guernica Salon. Nuevitas Gallery. Cuba
1999 Prize AHS. XV Salon Fidelio Ponce. Alejo Carpentier Gallery. Cuba
1998 Great Prize. Eduardo Abela Salon. Vertientes. Cuba
1997 2ndPrize. Eduardo AbelaSalon. Vertientes. Cuba
1996 2ndPrize. Eduardo AbelaSalon. Vertientes. Cuba
1995 Mention. Landscapes Salonof Students of the Plastic Arts School. Camagüey. Cuba
1995 Great Prize. Colateral Salon. Science Day. Camagüey. Cuba.
- First House.
- Speedy rope.
- She was where it was not known.
- The captain of the sleeping ones.
- To break the silence.
- The White Buffalo.
- New Latin American Cartography.
- Cuban narrators of today.
- Sun and Son Magazine.
- Cuba Bonus Magazine.
- International Cuba Magazine.
- Paper stories.
- The children of Kamikaze.
- Chronicles of Tomorrow.
- Donation of a work to the Cervantes Institute in Berlin. Germany.
- Donation of a work for the prizing of the Humor Festival “Aquelarre 2008.”
- Donation of a work to the V Anniversary of the TV show “Art Site”.
- “Of the great scene” TV Show
- Several Television spots.
- Personal exhibition in scene, where Gerardo Alfonso made his concert for his 25 years of artistic life.
- Homage to Eusebio Leal for his work in the historical center restauration.
- “Hurón Azul” TV Show.
- ” VideoArt” TV Show.
- “Good morning.” TV Magazine
- Cultural Television segments at the Cuban National News.
- “Lights and Shades” at the Havana Radio Station.
- Radio Havana Cuba Programs.
- Intervention in Radio Rebelde.
- Curatorship project “Casabe and matajíbaro.”
- “Connection.”TV Show
- “Late at Home.”TV Show
- “23 and M.”TV Show
- ” Art Site.”TV Show
- Several programs of the Havana TV Station.
Provincial Museum Ignacio Agramonte. Camagüey.
Student´s Museum Jesús Suárez Gayol. Camagüey.
Salons at the Havana Radio Station. Havana. Cuba.
Cervantes Institute of Berlin. Germany.
Juan Grañena. Barcelona, Spain. Kiki Denis. New York, U.S. Victor Serrano. Miami, U.S .Cornelio Dreiffus. Lausanne, Switzerland. Denmark. Mexico. Puerto Rico. Canada. France. Italy. England. Bahamas. Colombia. Dominican Republic. Greece. Costa Rica. Andorra. Argentina. Japan. China. Germany. Holland. Belgium. Lebanon. Brazil. Korea.
Critical analysis of his ouevre.
OPUS HABANA, Vol. VIII, No. 3, March/2005
The existence’s dilemma
The sentence “I think, therefore I am”, written by Renato Descartes in the seventeenth century, has transcended in the history of philosophy for its rationalist essence. However, Maykel Herrera (Camagüey, 1979) uses it, out of context and stripped of its original statement, in order to articulate a discourse of deep humanistic content. The ellipsis in the phrase is, in itself, a key to retrace the mazes through which painter’s work has gone, since his graduation from art school in Camagüey until now. The urgency of an incipient art market on the island imposed on our creators the need to insert visual discourse in international circuits during the turbulent 90s.
By his student times, Maykel adopted nearer values to academicism, but he began to consider a strategy related with the trends of the generation of the 80s. It was impossible to escape unharmed to the waves of excessive avant-gardism and rebellious speech that sometimes sacrificed the content of the work in favor of the so hackneyed postmodernism. The serie “Ysla forever”, exhibited during 17th Fidelio Ponce Fine Arts Show in Camagüey, appears in the middle of a wave which is moved in favor of installation art or performance promoted even from institutional positions.
Insularity concept, almost an epistemological foundation of Cuban society, joins to the fray. The symbol, the metaphor, the quotation and the recontextualization emerge in a reflexive posture to question recurrent notions like identity, nationality and the Cuban condition.
Another series came after such as: Inside and outside, in which he shared with Isabel de las Mercedes, a representative of the most genuine values of Naif art in Camagüey. A certain unavoidable approach to the three-dimensional shape got him in a foray into the art of installation. The most outstanding work of this period is a giant “guayo” prepared for drain and purification of our essences.
The artist appropriates the expressive possibilities offered by performance art, in a more daring attempt of taking up again the insularity topic and even gives his own blood to paint with it a reproduction in the style of the first graphic impressions that left record of the outline physical of our country. In this geographical transfusion it exhausts (for the moment) its intentions of going into the ephemeral existence of body art.
Then appears an opportunity to clear the existential doubts and rise in the composition these beings who shoulder their imperfections and frustrations. It’s also necessary to tear the canvas to pull out the pain. The congested space is full of chaotic lines and textures over the wild brushstroke.
The gestures of action painting inaugurate a unique interaction with the work that seems to confess itself its sins one by one.
Inevitable weaknesses of human nature are questioned by the remorse caused by Risks that do not yet, end the Fatigue of Consciousness or the unexpected Suicide of a child. Maykel reached Descartes conclusion with the same audacity with which he assumed the insertion in the artistic guild of the capital. He dropped the anchor here to stop the journey that once seduced him to arrive to “the promised land”.
The human perspective acquires nuances unexplored by the artist, now in new scenery (his studio – a workshop in the historic center of Old Havana).
On the vigil conscience a succession of faces seems like a whip that hurts and opens old wounds of the spirit and the flesh in us, at the same time guilty victims of our own miseries. We are irremissibly caught by the rigidity that frustrates our dreams, with the only comfort of what we could be or do. The series ¨Anquilosis¨ reaffirms a genuine vocation for the man’s nature in its more generic concept. They are portraits but not precisely for making praise of our beauties. They are portraits of the human soul that any time can be broken with the same fragility with which a globe explodes in the hands of a boy.
Creative act then becomes a ritual of exorcism. Each one carries his own angels and demons. His intention it is not to tell stories or join them together, but provoke them with a wide open vision of the human tragedy.
The old man that previously sewed his broken yearnings, now smiles discreetly; after all, life isn’t over yet (Birthday of a smile). The characters are repeated but they are also identified in other situations. Like a self-portrait, the mirror returns us a well-known image, only seemingly (The illusion which also helps). Without clothes, aspirations are naked and those small dreams that help to live become, again, the necessary refuge.
As a perfect aerialist, Maykel walks for the tightrope of our feelings, from which hang the frustrations and machinations that characterize the behavior of man, as complex as unpredictable in its evolution.
He validates the attributes that identify his work on his most recent serie, “Chimera in risk”. These characteristics are the formal complexity that is devised through the whole canvas with the chromatic ease of dril ping and the construction of a metaphoric speech through reiteration of icons like the globe or the goldfish which reinforces the sense of fragility like permanent state.
The maxim of Descartes still torments the artist mind. To reveal the paths of our existence is a rough exercise of permanent denial and recognition. This dilemma makes us to continue: the closer we get the truth the farther we are from it.
Journalist (Cuban TV)
“The artist must be blind to the distinctions between formal conventions “admitted” and “not admitted”, deaf to the demands and ephemeral teachings of his particular time. He must observe only the tendency of his inner need and only attend to its dictates”.
From the spiritual in art
Along his career, Maykel Herrera (Camagüey, 1979) has ignored fashions in art with the intention of creating a work that orchestrates his perception between concrete reality and the complexities of the spirit, according to the position of an abstract painter. He has experimented with different ways of artistic expression (even installation art and performance), more or less briefly, but most of the time he has remained attached to pictorial art. Maykel takes advantage of the creative space where develops his skills, prerogatives which keep him captive within his own formal search, that he assumed without prejudice. Precisely, this artistic medium has allowed the creator to walk the rugged path of the chosen ones in the Cuban plastic context, where pictorial art is as versatile as it is innate.
His colorful and strident work is recognizable and is distinguished by its controversial nature as well by the composition and its content of evident Freudian style.
The naturalistic condition of the main characters of his portraits is connected to abstract backgrounds through drippings that reveal the artist’s comfortable movement through several artistic languages. Maykel seems to want the conquest of all of them to subjugate them in the same brief space of a canvas. His characters always appear surrounded and protected by a bright aureole that extols them into myth and represents a clear game between the sublime and the earthly.
In some areas of his paintings, abstraction reaches great strength and autonomy. However, they operate as the dream background where the artist situates his stories. They are reddish and fiery, irregular and confused backgrounds that overwhelm and absorb us. His compositions are far from the synthesis, but not of the symbolic aspects. They are prolific in details, all with similar importance, which often produces several lines of fugue and a disconcerting reaction in the viewer because of the imperatives of the readings suggested by each element and the whole picture. His works testify his technical efficacy, but what really disturbs us is their profusion of elements and brushstrokes.
He is an artist who narrates existential situations and who transmits spiritual states. This is the discursive line that has consistently guided his entire career until today. His aesthetic proposal has always been defined by a coded, elaborate and eloquent universe which expresses the artist’s interest in locating the individual not only in social context, but also in the subjective conflict that is generated from the interaction with it. This theme is an open obsession on his work.
By the painting he evokes circumstances, which may seem stopped in time, but suggest a status of progression that is concatenated with his own philosophical and humanistic concerns and its expression in his last series, when he use childhood as a metaphor of vulnerability, adaptation and innocence. He has enlarged his spaces towards biggest formats with this series that will be exhibited soon at La Acacia gallery, in Havana. But we have already had an advance recently in the exhibition “Casabe y matajíbaro” at Santa Clara’s Convent, in the Historical Center of Havana. Several artists from Camagüey that live in Havana were gathered in this space by Maykel’s initiative, with the idea of joining generations and remembering their origins. According to Maykel: “in spite of the kind of glasses that everyone has, Cuban painting is only one”. This romantic initiative has revealed the contributions of this Cuban peculiar province to the national creative environment. Recognized names such as Roberto Fabelo, Flora Fong and Aisar Jalil, and representatives of the younger art such as Esterio Segura, Franklin Álvarez, Aziyadée Ruiz and Alain Pino, have formed part of this proposal, to which they attended with their iconic works.
Maykel, curator and director of this project, participated with two works in which the notions of acceptance, conformity and discipline, were enlisted in a duty of representing children of different places of the planet or from various times or creeds. He use spoons and pots as support for these characters, like sort of metonymies of food. It’s a look back from a cynical stance to one of the most fundamental and hackneyed issues of humanity, in a less hurtful way but allusive.
He doesn’t care to be at the forefront, or to invent a new way or say what has never been said. For him, the most relevant thing is to express fluently and with humanist vocation an ethical position sustained by the strength that the pictorial sign and color offer him. He looks around since an abstracted status, with the ability of the artists to place themselves in another dimension, that express according to the dictates of their inner need.
Onedys Calvo Noya
Specialist in Plastic arts
Historian City’s Office.
When I see the photographs that initially inspired Maykel Herrera’s paintings, an unusual disappointment overwhelms me. The painting of this young artist, precious, subtle and somewhat oneiric, comes to exceed the most perfect facial features created by Mother Nature due to the stroke of foreshortenings, reliefs, fillings and glazes. His characters seem to float in different atmospheres, sepias, ochres and a peculiar golden old color with graceful textures and several compositional elements typical of his visual poetics. Artists of different manifestations intervene on his work which is impregnated with their singular marks in this selection. This party of colors and strokes is made for and by little princes. The painter’s palette captures and surprises the innocence and candidness of children of different ages in various activities.
Journalist (Specialist in Visual Arts)
Sazón Total…to spice up the imagination
Seldom, the artistic production of a creator reflects so well his personality. Each painting of Maikel Herrera shows the spirit of this willing and active being, simple and good-natured, noble and mischievous as a child. His iconography has captivated so many admirers among whom I cannot deny my almost fanatical affiliation.
Today it has summoned us to enjoy this Sazon Total. This kind of imaginative and culinary title is also faithful expression of the sarcasm and the natural humor that equally characterize him.
Public can find here together different stages of a fertile artistic career in spite of his shortness. Perhaps he mixed them with the perverse intention of proving that his work can transcend styles and tendencies, trades and technical skills. He adopted a visual speech delighting itself from hyperrealist academicism, passing by mystical environments of lights, shadows, symbols and metaphors until his arrival to the suggestive language of abstraction. At this point, the spots, colors and lines assume the recurrent interest of placing the man and his chaotic world of the early third millennium in the center of his works.
Well seen, Maykel has always been an artist of the experimentation since the academic and figurative manner to his abstract projection. He feels the need of finding us and finding himself through an art that, above all, is a synthesis of Cuban identity and self-recognition. His art always leads us to the main topics of our time, of our joys and misfortunes, in a bizarre symbiosis of the beauty, the conceptual thing, the ludic thing, the adverse and the complex things. This author has made of its occupation an audacious manipulator of the insular man’s feelings, of those that it extracts essences and it interweaves fantasies that catch us, they commit us and we assume with so much strength that somehow they stay on each spectator’s judgement.
It is known that analogies between poetry and pictorial art date from the fifth century BC, when Simonides of Ceos said: “painting is silent poetry; the poetry is the painting that talks”. Aren’t these paintings poetry? Maikel’s work is lyrically fertile. We can only admit its silence by the phonological concept of sound. From every canvas, with their own nuances, emanates songs, howls, clamors and harangues which stop us in front of them in order to conjure us. Perhaps they are trying to confuse us in complex existential circumstances full of joys, dreams, sadness or frustrations…
Maykel assumes that psychic game consciously. He knows very well the human impulse of searching the meaning of all things. And his work is full of things and meanings. In works like these, art is something very serious that it incites and make us impatient. This is so much deeper when it allows us to know the way in which “others” perceive our reality that is the painter’s same reality. And he also suggests us how to face or to interact with that reality.
In this sense, the author establishes a series of conceptual discourses in which he recognizes in the art one of its most important functions: to show, to analyze and to interpret the working of the society which originates it. Therefore, his creation must also be enjoyed since the postulates of the Italian writer, semiologist and philosopher Umberto Eco. According to his definition of “open work”, while we delight ourselves spiritually with the art, we must give a fundamental part of the meaning and functionality of each of these paintings. Its actual philosophical dimensions are not precisely in a simple look of the artistic object.
Perhaps someone considers risky to say that Maykel has already reached professional maturity, when he is so young and has a long road to walk in the complex world of artistic creation. But that qualification won’t be enough not in a so distant time, because then we will have to recognize we are in the presence of a master. If in doubts, let its work talk by him. That is why this Sazon total has been conceived and put before you… Serve yourself! Enjoy it!… and spice up your imagination.
Thanks a lot,
Jorge Rivas Rodríguez
Havana, El Gato Tuerto, July 10th, 2009.