We are pleased to announce Dan Hernandez’s second solo exhibition at the Kim Foster Gallery. The exhibit’s title ”Genesis 2014” refers to the artist’s on-going visual dialogue of religion, mythology, and pop culture. Hernandez blurs boundaries, rearranges hierarchies, and calls into question our notions of iconography, collectibles, violence and devotion.
The title not only references the biblical Book of Genesis, but also the video game console Sega Genesis that was a defining moment in pop culture, especially for those in the artist’s generation. The Book of Genesis houses the creation stories: Noah’s Ark, Adam & Eve, etc. Similarly, the Sega Genesis was a vehicle for narrative video games like Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, Altered Beast and others. Both have narratives that utilize the supernatural and mythical as a central and reoccurring theme. By embracing such eccentric comparisons, the artist explores the unique and interesting artistic possibilities that exist.
In his creative process, Hernandez forms connections that are insightful and playful, but rarely art historically correct. The associations are loosely tied together through visual dialog among two or more parts. For instance, the artist parallels video games like Street Fighter 2, a side scrolling, competitive fighting game by Capcom, with Early Renaissance paintings by artists like Simone Martini, Giotto and Duccio. This allows him to combine things that would not otherwise be combined, resulting in intriguing fictions and inventions.
Despite the definition of Genesis (the coming into being of something: the origin) that communicates the sense of the “new,” its association with biblical text conveys a sense of the “old.” The juxtaposition drives the imagery, which weaves together contemporary and historical sources. By transferring computer images to a physical surface and manipulating that surface into fragments, the work takes on a fresco quality that has survived the passage of time. While the digital nature of the process is evident, it is this guise of “age” that solidifies the work and it is these anachronisms that are the genesis of his creativity.
Hernandez was awarded the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for 2011. His artwork was included in Southern Ohio Museum “Fast Forward to the Renaissance” 2013, “Bad For You” curated by Beth Rudin DeWoody during London’s Frieze 2012, Lehman College Art Gallery “Under the Influence: the Comics” 2012, and Westport Art Center “Toy Stories” curated by Helen Klisser During 2012. Hernandez received 1st Prize Bellinger Award at the 56th and 53rd Annual Chautauqua Exhibit of Contemporary Art in 2013 and 2010.