Lotería is to the pastel drawings of Judithe Hernández ('74) what the I Ching was to John Cage’s avant-garde music after World War II or the “Three Standard Stoppages” were to the Dada objects of Marcel Duchamp a century ago.
As a representation of inherent chance and life’s indeterminacy, the emblematic forms found in a lotería deck of cards — rose, devil, sun, deer and many more — are an inspiration for the archetypal style commonly encountered in Hernández’s drawings. The structure and appearance of her work could not be more different from a Duchamp or a Cage, but an awareness of chance as an inescapable feature of attentive living is shared.
Twenty-one drawings are on view in “Judithe Hernández: A Dream Is the Shadow of Something Real” at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, accompanied by a small selection of preparatory sketches in pencil and ink, a few published graphics, some snapshots and other ephemera. Organized by curator Edward Hayes, it is the first solo exhibition by a Chicana artist in the museum’s 22-year history.
As one of the pioneering artists in the vanguard of the Chicano Art and Los Angeles Mural Movement of the 1960's and 70's, alumna Judithe Hernández is regarded as one of the important visual artists of the period. During a time when Latinas were discouraged from seeking careers in the visual arts, she was one of a handful of women who shared equal footing with her male contemporaries and was the only female member of the seminal and influential artist collective "Los Four". The group also included the late well-known California painter, Carlos Almaraz, whom she met when they both attended graduate school at Otis Art Institute. Learn more about Hernández's work.
Image: Judithe Hernández, "The Unknown Saint (detail)," 2017, pastel on paper. (Museum of Latin American Art)