Sergio Hernández – Parábolas

November 22

Hours: 7 - 10 pm

The exhibition for which this text has been prepared is a landmark and a turning point for the artist Sergio Hernández. It is the first time in many decades that his large-scale paintings have been seen in the United States. While Hernández has long been at the center of the Mexican art world, and has had numerous ambitious exhibitions in Europe, he has curiously been elusive
for U.S. audiences. In 1999, Hernández was given his first major gallery show in the U.S. when Associated American Artists presented his “Recent Work” but we have had to wait until now for another representative exhibition of his more contemporary achievements.

This is not to say that Hernández is unknown in this country; there are a number of his splendid prints as well as his paintings in private collections. This exhibition, however, represents a considerable milestone. The selection made for this show at Durban Segnini Gallery demonstrates the ambitious scale, the incorporation of many of the themes that have interested Hernández
over the years (animals, insects, skeletons and other creatures inhabiting sometimes fantastical landscapes) as well as the extraordinary experiments in semi-abstract form in which the artist has achieved a new level of intensity in these paintings.

The following essay attempts to weave together biographical information with a series of analyses of some of the key aspects of Sergio Hernández’s symbolism that has characterized his art since the 1970s.

Sergio Hernández, one of Mexico’s most distinguished modern painters and print makers is a native of the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, a place renowned for its rich history of art and its archaeological treasures. He was born in the city of Huajuapan de León (“Place of Brave People” in the Nahuatl language, still spoken by millions of Mexicans) in 1957. Hernández’s birthplace lies in the north of the Mixtec region (“La Mixteca”), so named for the indigenous population, the Mixtecos, one of the two most powerful and widespread communities in Mesoamerica in ancient times. The modern descendants of the Mixtec, along with the Zapotecs, form the principal indigenous population of Oaxaca state. As a youth Hernández undoubtedly absorbed many of the stimuli of the rich visual and literary traditions of the Mixtec group and would eventually transform these sources into his distinctly personal form of art.

Hernández left his home state in 1973 for the capital and for several years of formal art training in the most prestigious institutions in Mexico City. Between 1973 and 1975 he matriculated at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas (National School of Visual Arts). This experience exposed him to a type of classical training that emphasized study from life, exactness of drawing and precision of depth and space in paintings and prints that would be a staple in the many methods on which he would draw later in developing his art. The Escuela,.//

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Essay Edward J. Sullivan.

 

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