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Today we’re looking at a work by Laura Hernandez. Laura is one of the great contemporary artists from Oaxaca, Mexico. She regards herself as part of the “School of Oaxaca,” and heir to great Oaxacan artists such as: Rufino Tamayo, Fracncisco Toledo, Rodolfo Nieto, and Rodolfo Morales. Laura left Mexico in the 1990’s to live and work in Europe and the United States.
This Painting – “Hombre Elemento” was created in 1998. The piece deals with the concept of the elements: earth, wind, fire, and water. The painting has a beautiful metamorphic combination of images – the beak of the bird becomes the tail of the fish and the mouth of the human head. Its difficult to see the head unless you look for it – and you can never really see the head and the different animals at the same time.
The blue in the top left corner of the painting represents the air, the wing of the bird turns into a flame and represents fire. The human head and the frog represent earth, and the fish represents water.
"Hombre Elemento" is beautifully put together. It is similar to works by MC Escher, but less graphic. The drawing and devices Laura uses keeps the piece subtle and organic, in contrast to Escher’s hard lines and contrasting colors.
Around the same time the painting was created, Laura Hernandez was working on an international show that traveled from Germany to the United States. That show was called “Omnia” and featured massive paintings and enormous paper mache sculptures that stand 8 or 9 feet high.
In Latin, the word Omnia means “all things change and we change with them.” So in a sense, this painting – “Hombre Elemento” captures the theme of that entire show.
“My Project is called OMNIA, because I want to mediate nothing less than the sensation of entirety, the Universal. I have no other aim and no other interest.. In my imagination everything is a dream, and I am a dream that the whole of mankind dreams.”