Ongina Uncaged exhibit photo
THACHER GALLERY

Current Exhibition

Soft Power: Recent Projects by Alexander Hernandez

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, the colorful and playful “chimeras” celebrate the rich lives of these survivors. Hernandez’s “SURROGATES” includes soft human-sized sculptures locked in an embrace along with photographs in the desert terrain at the Mexico-US border. The works remind us of the isolation and dangers that migrants endure, along with the necessity to adapt, persevere, and care for each other. His sensibilities as a queer Latinx artist can be seen in his quilts and videos, which utilize pop culture references along with materials and patterns familiar in Mexican homes to evoke feelings of delight and longing. 
 
The found materials, motifs, and colors in Hernandez’s works reflect the multi-layered references that saturate contemporary life. 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.”

Image
Alex Hernandez portrait photo

About the Artist

Born in Huajuapan de León, Oaxaca, Mexico and raised in Grand Junction, Colorado, Alexander Hernandez (he/him) received his BFA (2007) in Painting and Drawing from Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design in Denver and an MFA in Studio Art (2012) from California College of the Arts in San Francisco. 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.

This exhibition is showing concurrently with Lost Keys: Recent Work by Mercy Hawkins, on view in the Kalmanovitz Hall Sculpture Terrace, the Kalmanovitz Hall atrium, and Thacher Gallery.

Soft Power Installation Images

  • Aug. 22-Nov. 6, 2022
    Thacher Gallery

    Baggage, 2018
    Digital video, continuous loop (4 minutes, 41 seconds)

    Cacti, 2018
    fabric remnants, polyester fiber fill, metal spikes, pots

    Untitled (crossed legs), 2022
    Fabric remnants, polyester fiber fill

    PROTOTYPES/QUILTED COLLAGES:

    Crying in Spanish, 2018
    printed textiles, fabric remnants, quilting batting, found objects

    Brown Dreamsicle, 2018
    printed textiles, fabric remnants, quilting batting, vinyl, video game manual

    SURROGATES:

    Untitled (Acre Farm, Wisconsin), 2021
    digital print on archival paper

    Untitled (Steuben, Wisconsin), 2021
    digital print on archival paper

    Surrogate Untitled 1 and 2, 2016-2019
    fabric remnants, polyester fiber fill

    Untitled (Johnson, Vermont), 2019
    digital print on archival paper

    Untitled (Palm Springs, California), 2019
    digital print on archival paper

    Surrogate Untitled 1 and 2, 2016-2019
    fabric remnants, polyester fiber fill

    STAYIN’ POSITIVE:

    Rudy Soaring, 2020
    printed textiles, fabric remnants, quilting batting

    Splashing Mondo, 2020
    printed textiles, fabric remnants, quilting batting

    Ray Unleashed, 2020
    printed textiles, fabric remnants, quilting batting

    Dashing Omar, 2020
    printed textiles, fabric remnants, quilting batting

    Majestic Leslye, 2019
    printed textiles, fabric remnants, quilting batting

    Hatching Cal, 2019
    printed textiles, fabric remnants, quilting batting

    Ongina Uncaged, 2019
    printed textiles, fabric remnants, quilting batting

    Rudy Soaring, 2020
    printed textiles, fabric remnants, quilting batting

Upcoming Events

October 13
Art supplies
October 13, 2022 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Gleeson Library Thacher Gallery Event
October 13
Thacher Gallery artists Mercy Hawkins (left), and Alexander Hernandez (right)
October 13, 2022 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Gleeson Library Thacher Gallery Event

Next Up: Stitching Communities and the AIDS Memorial Quilt

View the Exhibit: Dec. 1–Feb. 17

Featuring selected panels from "the largest community arts project in history," this exhibition explores the artistic and cultural legacies of the AIDS Memorial Quilt honoring those lost to the HIV/AIDS epidemic since the 1980s. Presented by the MA in Museum Studies Curatorial Practicum class led by Professor Kate Lusheck.

Image credit: AIDS Memorial Quilt panel 232, Photo courtesy of  National AIDS Memorial

Block quilt