“The goodness of man is an activity of the soul in accordance with virtue”
From Aristotle to Nicomaco
When I saw the paintings of Jorge Hernández for the first time, I couldn’t help but remember some theories and philosophical thoughts about happiness. It gave me the impression that the artist only wanted to send us, in depth, a succession of iconographies based on achieving a happy appearance and aesthetic aspect of earthly life.
It’s clear that this vital perception isn’t new in the world of art and philosophy. Although, it may be more visible nowadays. It’s as if the entire universe had agreed to convey to us the virtues of a happy life, according to the paradigms established by our western consumer society, which is, as we know, colonizing all corners of the planet in a standard, global, and unified behavior.
It’s on this level that we must place the paintings of Jorge Hernández. If Aristotle asks himself “what is it that people want”, today we ask ourselves “what is it that others tell us to desire”. In the first Aristotelian thought there is a main remnant based on the reason for our desires, this means happiness concentrated on virtue as a valuable stone of excellence. However, in the 21st century it seems that virtue is not the main instrument anymore, and the word excellence has lost the intrinsic value of old times. However, this does not mean that we have become orphans regarding our happiness; it means we are moving, or being moved, in other parameters in order to achieve our goals.
In this sense, the works of Jorge Hernández exude a common denominator, that we could qualify as a “happy atmosphere”. In all his paintings, his characters keep the dignity to be satisfied with themselves, even despite the inconveniences and misfortunes of everyday life. It is very clear that the artist maintains, at all costs, the survival of his characters, either dancing between the trees of a forest, next to a plane crash, or in their simpler, everyday lives. It is as if the artist could tell us that nothing can cloud our happiness, transporting from his brush gleams of optimism, sometimes so inordinate, that touches the conscious and studied superficiality of the life style of Kate Moss.
In this sense, the work of Jorge Hernández maintains a discourse capable of being recognized and valued for its universality. We are referring to the goal of “being happy”; the concept of happiness idealized in an unusual abstraction, full of idyllic and unrealistic figures and landscapes, in which the artist transports us to previous decades, as if it were a great Hollywood blockbuster.
Each work of this painter remains encapsulated, paralyzed in a situation of extreme happiness. It´s chromatic ranges and agile brushstrokes keep the scene immobilized in an atmosphere of infinite optimism. While the polyester resin finishes his paintings, it acts as a great protector against any external agent that may cloud them.
Perhaps we are defining the closest aesthetic to idealization in which Platon and Da Vinci were more comfortable and prolific. It’s very likely that Aristotle and his methodical “reason” have been marginalized nowadays. However, the artist conveys to us, with his acrylic paintings, the necessary irony, so that we can draw a Giocondiana smile while we wait for better times.
Ramón García Alcaraz