Francisco Herrero Peñuela

Francisco Herrero Peñuela uses old forms to make his elaborate, richly textured surfaces. Practicing a form of marquetry common in 15th century Italy—intarsia—Peñuela pieces together fragments of wood to create abstract images in warm tones of gold, brown, and black. While original Italian intarsia would have been representational, embedding landscapes, objects, and narrative scenes directly into walls, Peñuela’s compositions hedge away from direct representation, with shapes and pattern emerging organically out of his carefully arranged wooden pieces. Peñuela’s Cubistic compositions might be read as abstracted aerial maps—their geometric and organic shapes suggesting plots of land, or perhaps some ruin, not quite unearthed.

Peñuela’s career as an artist has been an unusual one—he is a bit of an outsider, working and creating outside of the usual parameters of the art world and its market. In fact, it is Peñuela’s son, Federico Herrera, who first drew attention as an artist. Perhaps unsurprisingly, however, Francisco and Federico share something in their sensibilities. Like his father, Federico works with segmented abstractions, placing swaths and spans of bold colors together to create map-like images and pop-colored landscapes. Both artists point, however, to tradition and heritage in their works that seem to plumb the landscapes of their shared identity.