by Shirle Gottlieb
(Museum of Latin American Art,
Long Beach) You may not be familiar with the work of Laura Hernandez,
but once you have seen Omnia: A Trip into the Realm of Myth
and Dreams you will never forget her.
"El Abecedario (The Alphabet),"
"Suenos de Amor (Dreams of Love),"
|Trees take on human form; frogs become birds
become animals becomes faces; plumed serpents fly through the
clouds. In Escher-esque fashion, everything is one continuous
tapestry of being and becoming, of past, present, and future
woven together as one. Standing in the midst of this spiritual
imagery you don't think, you don't reason, you just feel. The
magic of Hernandez' artistic imagination surrounds you and time
On display in the second gallery are a variety of huge, colorful, wall-sized paintings that include The Dance of Life (reminiscent of Matisse); Adam in Paradise (surrounded by all the beasts of creation); and El Hacedor (The Creator)--a magnificent composition of masked faces, glyphs, rapture and love, all dove-tailed together like a Cubist jig-saw puzzle.
Vying for your attention in this space are seven gigantic papier mache heads that stand eight feet tall. Some of them have frogs for a nose, fish for lips, and snails for eyes. Others have hearts and bird bonnets on their heads, dove's wings for eyebrows, and smiling serpents winding around their necks. In addition, there is a series of 52 Alphabet paintings that serve as a visual Mesoamerican version of Genesis.