Kansas City, MO
For nearly 50 years, Anthony Hernandez has photographed the social landscape of his native Los Angeles. His pictures convey an abiding human concern for issues of class and race as they impact, and are shaped by, urban environments. The exhibition features selections from several bodies of work made between 1978 and 2012, highlighting Hernandez’s mid-to-late career achievements.
Black and white photographs from the series Automotive Landscapes, Public Transit Areas, Public Use Areas, and Public Fishing Areas focus on the everyday activities of people as they negotiate the unforgiving concrete landscapes that dominate Los Angeles, a city reliant on automotive transport.
Large-scale color photographs from the two series Everything and Forever focus on the city’s overlooked, fringe landscapes. Made while Hernandez walked the Los Angeles River basin, Everything transforms drainage ditches and storm drains –“wastelands” rarely seen by car – into somber, geometric abstractions. For Forever, Hernandez adopted the point of view of the homeless, focusing on spare, material traces that mark this way of life. Through Hernandez’s empathetic lens, these pictures emphasize the emotional and psychological impact of living on the streets, giving symbolic weight to the simplest of objects.