Using Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Zur Farbenlehre (Theory of Colors, 1810) as a primary source, Herrera translated sections of the text from German to English for the first time since Charles Eastlake’s 1840 edition, and interpreted the color of the landscapes she inhabited in the U.S. and France while she was an artist in residence at the Château de Monthelon. Here, the language of color has been transformed in order to provide fresh perspective on an archaic text, and allow Goethe’s words and experiments to reimagine themselves within a more contemporary conversation.
Mutterfarbe was first published in 2016, as a limited edition artist book by Broken Cloud Press (Santa Fe, NM), the imprint of book artist + designer Erin Mickelson. Through a joint collaboration between Herrera and Mickelson, the artist book debuted as a multimedia installation at 23 Sandy Gallery (Portland, OR), which also featured a site-specific sound + video collaboration between Herrera and multidisciplinary artist Andrew Foster Glei.
Books from the limited edition have been acquired by the Seattle Art Museum for the Dorothy Stimson Bullitt Library collection, Yale University for the Faber Birren Collection of Books on Color, UCLA for the Louise M. Darling Special Collections for Medicine and the Sciences, and Reed College's Special Collections & Archives. Portions of Mutterfarbe have also been featured in Poor Claudia, The Common, and Womenspeak PDX, and have been performed most recently for the Scablands Lit series (Spokane, WA).