Sergio Hernández exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art

 "Embers of Oaxaco" by Sergio Hernández is a new exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art.  This is a fascinating and very striking exhibit.  

The paintings are large with an almost hypnotically fascinating assembly of tiny painted and incised figures.  There are hippos, figures dancing with masks, menacing rabbits, disembodied limbs, skulls, angels and much more.  Several figures stand open-mouthed looking to the sky.  The works remind me of Picasso's "Guernica" done with miniature figures.  It also looks like one crazy rave or something from a Fellini film.  From a distance they look like abstracts.  The color palettes are chosen from colors associated with Oaxaca - the red from native cochineal insects; gold, black and deep blue.

There are also two other styles of work.  These are so different as to seem like the output of a different artist.  There are visions of the night sky and pieces painted on lead that depict forests or underwater plants.  These are calming and seem the opposite of the busyness of the other pieces.

This is a very impressive show!

    This is one of the peopled paintings at a distance.

    This large work is paint on lead.  It seems both industrial and natural at the same time.

There is also an installation by Justin Sterling entitled "Chapel of the Rocks".  This piece creates a church from the objects of urban living - plywood, police barricades, hydrants, broken glass and cement blocks.  The central figure is a traffic cone with a jacket evoking a small child wandering through a blighted landscape.  It is sad and moving.

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