Always Thinking About Yesterday, 2021. Mixed media, textiles. Courtesy of the artist.
“Through stitching, my work explores intersectional identities rooted in immigrant experiences, gender expectations, HIV+ survival, and queer sensibilities.” —Alexander Hernandez
Alexander Hernandez is a Mexican American gay mixed-media artist known for transforming found fabric and objects into figurative sculptures, quilts, and mixed-media tapestries. His fabric and pattern choices reflect personal memories of domestic spaces and the layered complexity of his various identities.
Always Thinking About Yesterday is part of a current series Hernandez is working on about Mexican song lyrics. During a breakup Hernandez rediscovered songs his mother would listen to when cleaning the house. The songs used to annoy him, but as he’s grown older, he has come to understand his family’s immigrant experiences through song. Hernandez has picked short sentences of lyrics he finds poetic in Spanish, but hard to translate in English. The letters are sewn on painted quilts that the artist constructs using American patchwork techniques with Mexican fabrics and embroidery.
Beauty and the Binge, 2020. Mixed media, textiles. Courtesy of the artist.
Beauty and the Binge was made during quarantine to reflect the anxieties that underserved communities felt already but were amplified by the lockdown. This work mirrors activities that folks were doing to get through daily life. The artist’s memories of watching telenovelas and anime as a way of discovering his queer identity can be seen in this piece by the way he uses vintage children’s bedding and found electronic objects playfully. This piece is the catalyst for a body of work titled Slumber Party that he would later create to reflect the feeling of being suffocated, constrained yet comfy and nostalgic.
About the Artist
Alexander Hernandez was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and raised in Colorado. He received his MFA from California College of the Arts in San Francisco in 2012, and his BFA from Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design. He has participated in many notable art residencies, including ACRE Summer Residency, MASS MoCA, San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, and Root Division in San Francisco. In 2021 he was interviewed by Latinx Spaces and had a solo show at FLXST Contemporary in Chicago. He will be the inaugural artist in residence at New Museum Los Gatos in June 2022.
Textile Talk with the Artist
This virtual Textile Talk took place as a collaboration between the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, the New Museum Los Gatos, and the Palo Alto Art Center.