The Thacher Gallery at the University of San Francisco Presents ‘Soft Power: Recent Projects by Alexander Hernandez’

The exhibition will run from August 22 to November 6, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (August 22, 2022) – To kick off its 25th anniversary, the Thacher Gallery at the University of San Francisco (USF) presents ‘Soft Power: Recent Projects by Alexander Hernandez’, on view from August 22 through November 6, 2022 in the Thacher Gallery on the USF campus. This exhibition is showing concurrently with ‘Lost Keys: Recent Work by Mercy Hawkins’.

In Soft Power, mixed-media artist Alexander Hernandez brings together quilt and sculpture projects to explore intersectional identities and survival.

Featured projects include the Bay Area premiere of ‘STAYIN’ POSITIVE’, a series of textile portraits investigating the identities of Latinx and people of color living with HIV, funded by the San Francisco Arts Commission. Together, these colorful and playful “chimeras” celebrate the rich inner lives of these survivors. Hernandez’s ‘SURROGATES’ includes soft human-sized sculptures locked in an embrace along with photographs of them placed in the desert terrain at the Mexico-U.S. border. The works remind us of the dangers and isolation that migrants endure, along with the necessity to adapt, persevere, and care for each other.

The repurposed found materials, motifs, and colors in Hernandez’s works reflect the multi-layered references that saturate contemporary life. His own sensibilities as a queer Latinx artist can be best seen in his quilts and videos, which utilize pop culture references along with materials and patterns familiar in Mexican homes. The artist states, “I patchwork together domestic fabrics, digitized prints, cultural textiles and pop-cultural artifacts to create Frankensteinian-like work that embraces layers and patterns. In the process I challenge gender roles and acculturation anxieties through visual code switching.”

About the Artist

Born in Huajuapan de Leon, Oaxaca, Mexico, and raised in Grand Junction, Colorado, Hernandez received his BFA in 2007 in Painting and Drawing from Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design in Denver, and an MFA in Studio Art in 2012 from California College of the Arts. Having participated in residency programs in the Bay Area and nationally, he is currently the inaugural artist in residence at the New Museum Los Gatos (NUMU). He has received grants from the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Queer Cultural Center, and Visual AIDS. He currently lives in San Francisco, and has worked as a social worker finding housing for displaced LGBTQ+ youth at Larkin Street Youth Services and as an art teacher at Creativity Explored.

About the Thacher Gallery at the University of San Francisco

The Thacher Gallery is a public art gallery in the University of San Francisco’s Gleeson Library where creativity, scholarship, and community converge. The exhibitions in our 25th anniversary season (2022-23) will explore memory through textile and mixed media artworks. The gallery is free and open to the public daily 12-6. The sculpture terrace is open to the public weekdays 9-5. USF pandemic protocols required. Located at 2130 Fulton Street. (415) 422-5178.

About the University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco is a private, Jesuit Catholic university that reflects the diversity, optimism, and opportunities of the city that surrounds it. USF offers more than 230 undergraduate, graduate, professional, and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, law, education, and nursing and health professions. At USF, each course is an intimate learning community in which top professors encourage students to turn learning into positive action, so the students graduate equipped to do well in the world — and inspired to change it for the better.