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The Illuminated Garden Comes To Oklahoma

Ana Maria Hernando

While Argentinian artist Ana Maria Hernando now lives in Boulder, Colo., she remains closely connected with South America. She continues to make regular visits to women on the continent who provide both inspiration and material for her works.

Hernando’s new exhibit at Oklahoma Contemporary features paintings, drawings, prints and resin plates grouped on the wall and floor. The title, El Jardin Illuminado or The Illuminated Garden, refers to the garden and flower themes in her work.

The Oklahoma Contemporary’s large pale walls are filled with large paintings of flowers, created specifically for the space. These 7 x 10 foot panels are the first things a visitor sees.

“I wanted the work to really welcome people,” Hernando says. “These flowers are so royal, they needed that I think they needed this big space.”

Neon stripes outline the human-sized familiar flower forms, but they’re empty, allowing the mind’s eye to complete the picture.

Near the large paintings, on cheap, white plastic tables, in the middle of the room it looks like dinner plates are lined up, ready for a buffet. But they aren’t vessels for a feast, instead they’re destined for the wall.

“I bring to them (the nuns in Buenos Aires) fabric patterns they embroider for me and I make these pieces,” Hernando says. “I put the embroidered pieces, in this case, in resin. And the molds I use are different kinds of plates.”

Hernando’s work has an openness about it, a transparency. Even the embroidered fabric inside the resin pieces is so thin you could read through it.

When placed against the white wall, the pieces float together in a pattern that amplifies their power, demonstrating the strength the nuns and Quechua women of the Andes Hernando works with have when they come together.

And if Hernando’s visual works fail to inspire, there is her poetry. She will read works with Kenneth Robinson Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at Oklahoma Contemporary. The exhibit open is Tuesday from 5:30–7:30 p.m.

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