Introspection from the landscape

David Mateo

Curator, editor and art critic
When Alberto Hernández decided to exhibit his artworks in the Cuban artistic context for the first time, he was already showing his own distinctive technical features. That solo exhibition, which carried the name of Impermanencia (Impermanence) and was displayed at the gallery at Oficina del Historiador de la Ciudad(the City Historian’s Offices) in 2012, showed us a young artist immersed into an empirical development process from the conceptual and structural point of view, but it also showed a creator with a rather defined strategy as regards the pictorial implementation of his landscape environments, and the state of weightlessness and surprise he expected to reflect through them. The skilful simulacrum of mists and the efficient use of monochromaticity (with preponderance on sepia tonalities), turned out to be,right from that stage, outstanding aspects of his work, grounds for the attention of some specialists, creators and genre enthusiasts. In my first conversations with the artist, I emphasised the value of that suggestive ambiguity he managed to reach between what is earthly and celestial, perceptible and imperceptible, illusion and reality, and I extolled the ingenious transfiguration of the reliefs of the environment which is managed precisely by means of those mists. The hectic surreality –conceived from a rigorous exercise of observation and deep knowledge of the perceptual variations induced by tropical nature-, is what has been protecting his landscapes from categorization within that simulated or late romanticism so abundant in the current landscape circles. I could even cite his work as an example within the evolutionary line of the insular landscape on which foreign sensations and atmospheres grow stronger, free from difficulties and impediments, be them those extracted from some historical referent within this way of expression, from some travel experience, or those emerged from fortuitous outbursts of the imaginary. I see with surprise and satisfaction that in this second exhibition at the gallery Carmen Montilla, both resources, monochromaticity and the mist, not only have been consolidating their level of elaboration and prominence, but also the formal artifices the artist has been perfecting in this complex depiction variant have been of use to him in reaching a much more suggestive, deliberate landscape; they have helped him to go into the improvisation of other arid and strange spaces in more depth. That is, the resulting mixture of the misty transparency and the sepia tonalities has completely qualified the atmospheres in his compositions, from the most notable plane to the subtlest one, and it constitutes the main fundament for the fusion or integrity of the artwork. In those new landscapes that begin to appear, the clear terrains, the almost desert roads, the stony paths, are essentials within the structure of the picture and they take up almost all the allegorical charge for themselves, while the dense vegetation of the beginnings starts to show a gradual dissipation, which makes him move away as a creator from an apparent devoted and bucolic intention. In these new sceneries, the principle of ecstasy or static contemplation has begun to be supplanted by that of transiting and meditation, which has been worthwhile evenfor the scrutinizing angle of the spectator. The pieces Camino(Road), Perspectiva(Perspective) and Concéntrico (Concentric) constitute three good examples of that... I have no doubts the artist is coming to a kind of landscape of mythical connotations that was eagerly yearned for, he is starting to suspect and to delineate his own paths or roads of philosophical condition.