Akron Art Museum Acquires Powerful Herman Aguirre Painting
Herman Aguirre’s Vamos a darnos una vuelta al cielo [Let’s give heaven a visit] is a densely rich and truly unusual artwork. Most painters use their materials to make a picture on the surface of a canvas. While Aguirre does some of that, he also treats paint as a sculptural substance: building it up to represent leaves, flower petals, and pieces of fabric as full-fledged three-dimensional objects. He constructs these objects from paint skins, which he creates by applying paint to wax paper with a squeegee, allowing it to dry fully before peeling it off, and affixing it to the work’s surface. The artist even shapes these pieces of paint with scissors or a knife, resulting in a wide variety of textures and forms.
The enticing surface of this painting draws viewers close and helps Aguirre to convey a powerful message, as Vamos a darnos una vuelta al cielo serves as memorial for children whose remains were discovered in Veracruz, Mexico, in September 2018, amid broader drug- and gang-related violence. Instead of depicting the harrowing details of this tragedy, Aguirre shows the children’s colorful clothing as an enormous mound, intertwining with flowers and plants as it extends into the sky. His title mentions taking a trip to heaven, but it does not specify who might make the journey—it might be the young victims of violence, but it might also be the viewers who remember and visit them via this painting.
AKRON ART MUSEUM
One South High Street
Akron, Ohio 44308