June 27 – August 21, 2017
Mimi Herrera-Pease is a San Francisco-based painter who was born in Mexico City. Her mother, an American artist, and her father, an engineer from Veracruz, Mexico, exposed their daughter to Mexican art and culture. Frequent visits to museums and galleries in Mexico and Los Angeles, where she grew up, shaped her desire to become an artist.
Under the tutelage of the late Carlos Villa, a Guggenheim Fellow, Herrera-Pease learned technique and self-expression through oil painting at the San Francisco Art Institute. Reinforced by art history classes at SFAI, she discovered the prominence and history of abstract art, which validated her passion to pursue it as a primary focus. The immediacy of action painting and abstract expressionism became her vocation. Years later, she learned of powerful women artists—such as Sonia Gechtoff, Deborah Remington, and Jay DeFeo—who had walked the same halls at SFAI. Influenced by the New York School of Abstract Expressionism, Bay Area Figurative, and Neo-Expressionist movements, she honed her skills as an abstract painter.
After graduating from SFAI, Herrera-Pease began working as a union scenic artist in San Francisco (IATSE Local 16). She worked at American Conservatory Theater (ACT) and in film, television, and commercials for 12 years. She married, had three children, and began a business in architectural color consulting before returning to her passion, oil on canvas.
“The immediacy of painting allows me to expose my inner self through abstract art,” says Herrera-Pease. “There is no point of reference, which I find challenging and exciting.”
Renewal, my show at the Red Poppy, reflects a sense of renewal after a dark and fearful winter. As the seasons change to spring and summer, joyful and hopeful feelings spread their colors on canvas. With the studio door open, the breeze blowing through, and the music turned up a few notches, it’s easy to evoke the mood of my garden in full bloom, the restless sea, and hope for the future. While making art, I like to listen to reggae, hip-hop, early rap, techno, urban, funk, and pop. For me, there is a link between art and music. My paintings are physical. I move the paint and my body as I work to the beat.
Elena Mencarelli moved to San Francisco after concluding her Master Degree in Visual Arts at the University of Bologna, Italy. Previously, she was the artistic director of the Make Your Mark Art Gallery in Melbourne, Australia. In addition to her artistic practice and curatorial background, she is also engaged in art criticism. Elena is the co-writer of the catalogue of the double exhibition Maria Rebecca Ballestra – Alan Sonfist, a better landscape (Unimedia Modern Contemporary Art, Genova, Italy) and is the author of Maria Rebecca Ballestra, a phenomenology of posthumanism, soon to be published in both Italian and English.
Zena Carlota is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and visual artist based in the Bay Area. Her traditional background in kora and West African harp has inspired her to combine her love of classical West African string music with Appalachian folk, Delta blues, and soul to create narratives of memory and migration in the African Diaspora. An accomplished visual artist, Zena finds it a natural progression to apply in her own art the same themes of ritual and tradition found in West African music. As a fifth generation Bay Area resident, she values the notion of longevity and sustainability in community and sees the role of the Red Poppy as a vehicle for creativity and support for artists.