San Francisco photographer Catherine Herrera continues her series honoring the beauty of the natural world of flowers/
S.F. Photographer Catherine Herrera’s ‘Sunset on Golden Gate Bridge, 2019’ was featured in Fine Art America in November 2019.
I am so happy to announce that I have found a new art studio in San Francisco, with outdoor space enough to begin creating larger coastal wood pieces. I’m really excited about taking my practice to the next level, and for the opportunities to grow my art business. The creative space is opened by appointment to studio visits with Buyers, Collectors and Curators, offering a chance for us to sit together to better share my art, photography and film.
I am planning Open Studios by joining the Bi-Annual ArtSpan tour.
This past summer and early Fall I was filming in Santa Cruz and Martin’s Beach, renting a room from a creative couple who support other artists with lodgings at accessible rates on the expensive California coast. It was there in Jaime and Don’s garden that two museum curators visited for a look at recent work.
Opening on January 10, 2019, the first exhibit ‘Out of Tradition: Sacred and Profane’ opened at the de Saisset Museum, which sits on the Santa Clara University campus, and next to the Santa Clara Mission.
Three of the Spirit Dolls are exhibited, along with several of my photographs from work produced over the last 20 years in Northern California while I conducted genealogical research to better understand my ancestors, and as an act of recovery and healing – not knowing where you come from, you can’t know where you’re going.
It was an emotional experience going into the Santa Clara Mission prior to the opening of the exhibit, having read so many records from the Mission, and learning the history of the California Ohlone, Yokut, Tulare, Miwok and Pomo who were forced to work at the Missions.
It was that history that I carried with me as I entered the Mission, and later, speaking to the visitors at the inauguration.
It was a wonderful experience.
The second exhibit, ‘Contemporary Traces in Ancient Lands,’ is a group exhibit opening at the Triton Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Clara, California.
Up through April 19, 2019, this group exhibit brings together Native artists from various parts of California to reflect on contemporary artistic reflections of ancient cultures and land cared for thousands of years by California tribal peoples prior to contact, and today.
The largest number of Spirit Dolls to date were on view at the Triton, and I gave an artist talk which was well attended with people interested in learning more about the creative process in making the Spirit Dolls, and the story of how the Spirit Dolls Series began.
Both the de Saisset and Triton exhibits of my photography and coastal wood sculptures were meaningful in many ways, including that my grandparents lived not far away in San Jose and it was from them that I learned the coast and land of this region that roots me today.
The land knows and remembers us, I believe. Generations of my family driving over the 17 Highway, passing Redwood and Pine trees alive long enough some have witnessed year after year generation generation driving by where earlier ancestors rode horses, even before, walking this land.
I was so happy to hear the Director of the Triton say that visitors reported to her that they felt ‘joy’ and positive spirit in the Spirit Dolls and I know I reached the goal of leaving audiences with a sense of happiness while serving in a transformative manner to educate about the painful history of the California mission system, and specifically, San Juan Bautista, Santa Cruz and San Francisco.
Yes, my friends, Spring is on here!
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Solstice has just passed, offering the longest day of the year. San Francisco has been a balmy near 80-degrees, a refuge from the souring heat inland.
In my last post, I wrote about sitting out while the nerve in my arm healed. Well, MRI’s revealed additional tears and fractures from the fall, including my right foot and leg. I’ve been stuck at home, but, I have been using the time to further the goals set at the start of the year, keeping focused, and preparing for when the foot is healed and I can get back to filming.
In between editing, and writing, I have been working still on the California coastal wood, shell and rock sculptures I started back in 2015 as part of a larger project, The Spirit Dolls.
This new series branches out to reflect on my love for coastal California, an homage to the great Pacific Ocean, along side I have lived most of my life. I am contributing 5% of sales to the mission of raising awareness through education about California coastal life and culture.
These unique, one-of-a-kind wood sculptures are designed to delight their collector. People often have an immediate connection to the one or another of the pieces.
I am delighted when the spirit of the coast and sculpture connects with the spirit of the viewer. Some pieces remain with me, but other scupltures are available for sale.
Contact me if you are interested in learning more, and to sign up for the mailing list for local Bay Area gallery and collectors shows, and news of California coastal life.
A year’s hiatus from public presentations was a necessary step to focus on the compressed nerve found in my right arm. This year is focused on new treatments and strengthening the muscles, and, returning to exhibiting and public presentations.
I gave a presentation on March 04, 2017 at the San Francisco History Days about my art and films over the last 15 years, and the focus of my work since returning to the Bay Area: tracing my family history. It was a great pleasure to be able to share more about my great great great grandfather, who was born in San Francisco in 1857, and the challenges we face in going back beyond 1852, crossing that divide of statehood and a time of extreme transition for the local area. In fact, San Francisco at that time, like today, attracted people from all over the world, expanding the City’s population in a span of a few short years from roughly 500 to over 35,000 residents.
Over the weekend, my 3-screen video installation ‘Bridge Walkers: Protecting Sacred Sites in San Francisco and Bay Area’ screened during the event that attracted over 6,000 people, and resulted in the SF Fire Department coming out to enforce capacity codes!
It was also a great opportunity to inform more about the New Almaden Mine, and how valuable the source of cinnabar, used in extracting gold, was to the nation, making it possible for the country to advance very quickly economically, no longer bound to import the ingredient from the Rothschilds, and save the long voyage overseas.
The New Almaden Mine has been a source of amazing history, and pride in the role our family played during such a crucial time in our nation’s history.
Naturally, my search is not complete. The presentation offered an opportunity to discuss the importance of the ‘Open Doors to a Healing’ Project, and collaboration with local San Francisco and Bay Area archives, universities and librarians to strengthen local genealogical and historical information and bring forward the voices, history and experiences of people to create a more inclusionary experience for local people researching family history, and to uncover together hidden specks of history that hold treasures to so many people seeking the full history of their families in San Francisco and the Bay Area.
Stay tuned for postings about upcoming screenings of the short documentary ‘Bridge Walkers,’ which is nearing the final stages in preparation for distribution and submissions.
Completing this film feels timely in light of the need for greater education about the importance of sacred and burial sites and how Native and non-Native peoples can come to positive resolutions that take into consideration the voices of tribes, and, the needs of local communities. Over the last year, the unfolding events at Standing Rock highlighted the importance of discussing how burial sites are treated, what collaborative efforts can preserve and protect sacred sites and led to greater exchange with the public and local tribes.
As production gives way to post-, gearing up for the color and sound correction, festival submission fees, any and all donations are appreciated. Donations can be made by secure transaction through PayPal.
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