GREGORY MICHAEL HERNANDEZ
I was raised in the Mojave Desert of Southern California, and have lived in Los Angeles since 1995. My art is landscape-based, meaning I deal with space and place; most often contrasting the barren and the urban. I am interested in the back and forth nature between here and there, past and present, and the transitional spaces that are both or neither.
I chose the name “Exile Child” as a working moniker after spending time in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza in 1999 and 2000. Exile Child is a phrase that refers to themes of dislocation that define the human condition. A child of exile is someone who was born into a state of uprootedness: they never stepped foot on the homeland, but their identity is mediated through forms, rituals, and stories translated by the community that sustains their existence.
Using photography as a cartographic tool for mapping perspective is the dominant axis in my various approaches to making work. I incorporate photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, architectural intervention, performance, and site-specific installation to create hybrid representations of experiential phenomena. I am interested in how our environment shapes the way we think, and how context influences perception. I am inspired by art that finds itself precariously wedged between philosophy, religion, politics, and culture.
I explore cities and deserts by looking for raw material that can be borrowed, manipulated, or visually captured in such a way as to become something transcendent, or act as a signpost for an alternative understanding of the real. Recurring themes and concepts include memory, land use and borders, confinement, the psychology of scale, the authority of monumentality, the mathematics of orientation, and the politics of representation. One result is a conversation regarding essential natures of art, including: art as residue, art as generative mechanism, art as a series of compound representations, art as immortalizing the ephemeral, and art as relic.
Since 2013, my new work is about death, violence, and the idea of god.