Columbus is home to many talented and established artists, but it’s also exciting that there are just as many up-and-comers like Adam Hernandez. Even though Hernandez is excited and slightly nervous — like he’s about to embark on a first date — about holding his first solo exhibition, his objective is indicative of a much more experienced artist.
“I feel a responsibility as an artist to have this platform and … I need to have some sort of message,” Hernandez said. “Even if it’s not super deep, I want people to walk away thinking about something … maybe get them to at least start a discussion.”
Hernandez is a self-trained artist who’s been painting for about three years, and the resulting works on display at Brother’s Drake Meadery should help him accomplish his goal. The first thing you’ll notice about many of Hernandez’s paintings is the prevalent eyes that pull the viewer in, creating a dynamic with the work.
“It’s the idea of them being the key to our perception. And when you’re looking at a painting, you’re using your eyes. So the painting is looking back at you … forcing a dialog,” Hernandez said.
For most of his paintings, which are diverse in size, subject and style, Hernandez uses acrylics and watercolors, but he also employs nontraditional materials like spray paint and even beet juice. Adding a DIY aspect to the works, Hernandez turns shelving and wood pieces (found mostly on Campus) into canvases. It adds an unexpected element that Hernandez finds challenging and rewarding, citing how he incorporated the wood knots in “Ehecatl Contemplates Mayahuel” as part of the tree.
As far as subject matter, the paintings present abstract forms, human figures and even hieroglyphs and Aztec symbols. Hernandez feels a sense of spirituality is conveyed, and looks to challenge “anything that human beings think we have figured out.”
The month-long exhibit won’t feature all of Hernandez’s works, but as many as he can hang because he’s producing quickly and wants to show his range.
“I have about 50 paintings, so I’m just going to bomb the shit out of it,” Hernandez said.
Photo by Will Shilling