Jonathan Herrera is a print-based studio artist and teacher from Chicago, IL. He has recently graduated and holds a BFA from the Minneapolis College in Art and Design. Through his studio practice and teaching philosophy, Herrera engages multiple facets of making in order to express ideas through concept building,process, and material experimentation. His work has recently been exhibited at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, The Soap Factory, and Concordia Gallery. Herrera has recently received residency / fellowship awards from Spudnik Press, High Point Center for Printmaking, Grand Marais Art Colony, and the Vermont Studio Center.
My work explores different relationships between collective memory and historical instances of state-sponsored violence and trauma inflicted on politicized bodies. Bodies become politicized by either attempting to dislodge themselves from their dispossessed condition or by their cultural identities opposing a dominant status quo. I construct print-based objects, installations, and environments that echo lived experiences of those who are no longer with us. Print-based processes translate the content through symbolically revealing the act of remembering in producing tracings and impressions. Slicing open wounds into wood, burning the surface of lithostone with acid, and the crushing of ink on paper under immense pressure, re-animates acts of violence that carries through an art-object’s final presentation.
The People’s Library is a student-organized artist collective devoted to ending colonial, institutional, and systemic violence through both art and education. In our art we are conscious and in our actions we are productive. We believe that dismantling these oppressive systems can only be achieved through the process of praxis: simultaneous reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it.
Art and image can be used as a tool for empathy and political critique, but as Susan Sontag writes, “compassion needs to be translated into action, or it withers.” We translate our compassion into action by organizing community based arts engagement, curating and installing art exhibitions, facilitating politicized events, and prioritizing a grassroots learning environment outside of the classroom. The People’s Library relies on action and the hope of future generation’s enthusiasm to make a change.