Secundino Hernández's diverse and energetic painting practice resists easy characterisation. His work features intricately structured compositions that mix strong linear elements and rich bursts of colour. Some canvases feature abstracted, atomised forms, while others have more densely overlaid imagery in which it is possible to discern figurative elements.
His paintings deftly combine representation and abstraction, linear draughtsmanship and colouration, minimalism and gesturalism. Over the course of his career Hernández has mixed diverse references: a physicality that recalls Action Painting, the shorthand figuration of cartoons, and passages evoking painterly precedents.
This stylistic multiplicity grows out of Hernández's detailed and informed knowledge of art history. While his references are broad he has, in recent years, developed a specific engagement with the work of old and modern masters from his native country, Spain, as a way of getting in touch with his personal and artistic roots. For Hernandez, such references are signposts rather than subjects in their own right. Distilled to essences of line, colour and form, his paintings always foreground the particularities of the medium, its defining characteristics.
In keeping with the breadth of his influences, Hernández employs a variety of seemingly contradictory techniques including washing, scraping, and working directly from paint tubes. While some works are the result of conspicuous addition, his ‘wash’ canvases, by contrast, are produced by layering and removing paint with a heavy-duty pressure washer. Almost archaeological in nature, this method involves digging through pigment to expose the canvas beneath, a process that the artist associates with sculptural carving. The resulting paintings have a dramatic, exploratory quality.
His is a meticulous and process-oriented approach, and his paintings openly display the triumphs and struggles of the artist's practice, creating a tension between control and chaos, rehearsal and re-evaluation, making and unmaking, beauty and destruction.
Hernández was born in 1975 in Madrid, where he currently lives and works.