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ARTIST IN RESIDENCE / KATES-FERRI PROJECTS / GONZALO HERNANDEZ INTERVIEW

“In my visits to the museums, I just felt unrepresented and that is related to the concepts for this work”

installation images are courtesy of Kates-Ferri Projects and Gonzalo Hernandez. 

Where are you from and where are you based?

I’m from Lima, Peru and I’m based in Miami, Florida.

Does your ethnicity play a role in your practice?

Yes, being Latino in the USA is such a big thing. I always say that I’m Peruvian because I moved to the States 7 years ago, so I consider myself Peruvian and part of the Latino community. In Miami, the Latino community is huge, so I do feel represented and part of a community.

During your Artist Residency at Kates-Ferri Projects you worked on a series of paintings from museum art catalogs which you de-constructed, collaged, and then painted on canvas with custom frames.

Can you tell us a little bit about this process and concept?

The process starts with me visiting collections here in Miami, getting the catalogs, and from there taking out the images of the artworks and creating a collage as part of the first process. In my visits to the museums, I just felt unrepresented and that is related to the concepts for this works that I created during the residency, by creating the collages and merging the works and painting them black and white, I try to standardize all the artworks. The custom frames are related to ideas of belonging or being inside a frame. The frames, as structures and every piece is unique, some of the custom frames cover most of the canvas but also, they are also open.

Who are some of your favorite artists from these museum catalogues?

Most of the collections here in Miami are really diverse, and a lot of them collect contemporary art only. In terms of the artists in most of the collections, works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Glenn Ligon, Oscar Murillo, there are so many to highlight.

There seems to be such an interaction between form and color. How do you balance them?

Yes, when I create the collage, I try to create a balance between artworks, because I’m working with appropriation, I try to balance the hierarchy of some of the works that feel recognizable by most of the audience, that’s how I divide the collage and balance the artworks in each collage. In terms of color, I standardize everything by using black and white, I use only black and white oil on canvas.

How do you know when a work says what you want it to say?

I think is when I get an audience, or out of the studio. The reaction with an audience is what makes me realize that I accomplish the goal with the work. Most of the time I do achieve it because the concepts are direct, lately, I have been thinking about the idea of creating work that is a little more complex to understand for a bigger audience.

As a Latinx artist do you feel you are represented in museums?

I don’t think that’s true; museums are full of white male artists. I don’t think there is a clear representation of Latino art in general, European cannon art history has dominated the narrative of art history, but there is artists of color that were making work at the same time, with no visibility. Today we are seeing some changes in history but it will take a lot of time for the museums and institutions to change the canon of how they are telling the story.

What can the art world do to make sure Latinx voices and creatives are a part of the conversation?

I think the key part is as always, the leader of an institution, if you have a Latino running the institution the story is different. So, creating or getting Latino workers to actually position of power is something that needs to be done and from there we will see some changes. They need to be directors of the museums from there, changes might happen. That is also related to the responsibility as artists of color to, always be ready and understand our role in the art world.

Is there was a song that embodied your work, what would it be?

I’ve been listening to Benjamin Clementine, for the past year.

What do you have in the pipeline for 2022?

I have a busy schedule for the beginning of the year, I’m part of a group show at SCAD, that focuses on the use of film and video, I’m presenting a video piece that I create during my residency in 2020 in Erie Pennsylvania. I’m also showing some textile work at ZSONA MACO in Mexico City this February with La Galeria Rebelde from Guatemala, also working on a group show for March at Allegheny Art Galleries in Meadville, PA, and showing at Kate-Ferri Projects as part of the group show Homecoming. Finally working on my first solo show in Cuzco with Vigil Gonzales, which will be opening in May.