We were fortunate to meet Luis Hernandez at a turning point in his creative practice, as he was beginning this body of work, a series of marker drawings on vellum. Aesthetically, they’re exciting abstractions; energized and vibrant, each complex composition is perched between intuitive and systematic visual ideas. Hernandez's work effortlessly achieves what many contemporary artists currently investigating abstraction strive to, with the re-emergence of a Twombly-esque aesthetic.
Observing Hernandez in the studio, it's impossible not to feel a sense of wonder at the mysterious and dynamic nature of his prolific creative process. The contrast of expressive and systematic qualities in his work is mirrored in his disposition, which is that of an extremely earnest and affable man, with a great aspiration to speak directly and connect with the world beyond himself, but whose way of thinking and seeing is fantastically disparate from that of his neurotypical peers.
Because of his aspiration to communicate clearly, he was slow to fully embrace his instinctive practice and still sometimes strives to create representational work. When he attempts to draw from life, however, he’s never satisfied. During these moments, as he discards page after page of a sketchbook, the singularity of his experience is most clear as the renderings even he finds most successful have no obvious visual relationship to their subject. Once, an observer sympathetic to his frustration tried to assist by providing a dotted line as a guide; he has since adopted the dotted line, applying it to his abstract forms as though he can achieve a magical quality of objectivity from its presence.
In this body of work, Hernandez has described his process of drawing as moving along or searching for a path. If it’s a path, then it’s one he follows with great vigilance, a quality that he values deeply. His vigilance is a matter of faith, an inherent knowledge of the world that he believes in with great conviction; this is sometimes expressed in terms of his Tlingit heritage (referencing conversations in dreams with his ancestors or communications with Eagle or Raven) and at other times in drawing comparisons between himself and his idol, the ever vigilant Walker, Texas Ranger.
Hernandez maintains a studio practice in Juneau, Alaska at The Canvas; work from his current series will be included in an upcoming group exhibition curated by Disparate Minds writers Tim Ortiz and Andreana Donahue, which will be on view at The Canvas’ exhibition space in December.