Looking Backward; Looking Forward: The Art of Jason Hernandez

August 15, 2014 1:12 PM

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Looking Backward; Looking Forward: The Art of Jason Hernandez

Often when we do art, we tap into a historical narrative that influences our current perspective. This could be done in several ways such as examining economic principles like primitive communism, feudalism and slave labor, or sometimes we assess ancestral roots to understand the trajectory of our bloodline in order to guide us in contemporary society. We sometimes look at previous art styles or entire cultural periods to inspire new works or design, or we read the classics, ancient philosophy and early religion to give us a framework from which to build upon. However, sometimes we look toward the future, hence the futurists, which often results in narratives related to new urbanism and the industrial metropolis, or a dystopian prison-like society where the Panoptican remains triumphant. Or maybe the complete opposite where we learn to co-exist without war, famine, violence, disease and so forth... in a utopian new world, in the aesthetic age. Recently I was walking through the Loyola Marymount University campus in Westchester, and I remembered how impressive the illuminated manuscripts of the Renaissance period were, including the glass-engraved iconography inside Catholic churches. I wondered if there was a contemporary artist that tapped into religious imagery to interpret a modern, secular urban society. And there was... here in Los Angeles, in my own backyard, Jason Hernandez.

Straight out of Bellflower, California, Hernandez grew up in a conservative Catholic household where as a child he was drawn to the church experience as an art laboratory. From the architecture, to the window panes, to the bible itself, the religious motifs would leave a lasting impression on the yo...

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