Harry Hernandez’s Open House: Diametrically Opposed Realities in Santurce, Puerto Rico

Harry Hernandez’s Open House: Diametrically Opposed Realities in Santurce, Puerto Rico
(February 6, 2009- April 11, 2009)
Opening Reception February 6, 2009 5 - 8 p.m.
Harry Hernández is currently one of Puerto Rico's most promising young painters. He was trained in the prestigious San Carlos Academy in Mexico, and his work incorporates his paintings with various forms of multi-media, including projections, digital imaging, video, and still photography.
In Open House Hernandez will present to us a  series of 16 mixed media works on paper and 2 films. The show highlights the juxtaposition of the physical realites of the homeless, and the brightness and false luxury of the aesthetics of the urban tourist environment.  It focuses on homeless people at the bus stop Avenue 22 in Santurce, Puerto Rico.
Opening Reception February 6, 2009 5 - 8 p.m.

Commentary by Antonio Martorell
Paradise can be hell. In Harry Hernandez’s pictorial rendition of the homeless drug addicts and their dreams of joy, pain is colorful, despair glitters, the skin blooms with deadly pallor and bodies fold into themselves like unopened Christmas presents.
The artist is both a sympathetic witness of street inhabitants and a carnival barker of horror side shows. The performers wear their nakedness as passports to oblivion, a never never land that is both candy colored and gunpowder mist. In most images these dwellers of Santurce are so close up that you wonder whether the artist roams his neighborhood with a telescopic viewfinder since at times it seems we are too close for comfort, neither the viewer’s nor the object of our gaze, embraced as we both are by the dream that seems eternal behind the closed eyelids we behold.
In order to allow these images to be shared, Harry dresses them with the stuff their dreams are made of, the hues of their desires, the textures of their hopes. Within the white rectangle of the paper, the artist houses the transient, gives brilliant shelter to the homeless. In their new dwellings we have to figure out the crouching bodies, make out the facial features in the mirror we dare not look at. These painful others are both too near and too far, impenetrable and piercing in their pain, disguised in their reverie.
When placed together, these artful mixtures of drawings, paintings, stenciled and collaged elements on paper are a freeze of night music that blasts out of jukeboxes deafening other sounds with the purple stain of open wounds left by hardened veins punctured by dreams and stolen heavens. Together they become misty, a forest fog of arms and legs aiming at a long lost dream. We, the spectators are at loss finding our way through the hazed atmosphere of floral spray and solidified gel medium invisible but palpable, faint, ghostly clues of the passage of time, color and shape.
Nothing is permanent but the longing of paradise lust, a pain in the loins, a throb at the heart, a lump in the throat and a wandering eye in search of an intimate and elusive truth. What are we to make out of this codex of suffering begging for redemption, these mean streets looking for an open house in which to enter, find refuge until the next dream opens the city arteries, lets the juice flow, the colors run over, the ink bleed?
This is no “Open Sesame”, no Sesame Street for adults, no back street or main street, no dead-end alley or superhighway to the sky. This is not what you see nor what you get. This is what you do not get. It’s all a dream.
Antonio Martorell
Tuesday January 13th 2009
Hato Rey, Puerto Rico.

Galería Lorenzo Homar
Bearing the name of one of Puerto Rico’s greatest graphic visual artists, Taller Puertorriqueño’s Galería Lorenzo Homar is the region’s only art gallery dedicated to Latin American and Caribbean art.
Beyond exhibiting some of the renowned contemporary international artists of our time, the gallery has also hosted centuries-old artifacts, drawing visitors from throughout the Eastern seaboard.  Its world-class exhibits ensure that tourists and residents alike understand Latino art as fine art set to the rhythms of our history.
2–6 p.m.
Wed – Sat/miér - sáb
10 a.m.–1 p.m. and 2–6 p.m.

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