Acting as photographer, subject, make-up artist, and designer, Mari Hernandez alters her identity and physical appearance through the use of make-up, prosthetics, wigs, costumes, and props.
Through narrative, she reinterprets histories and proposes new ones. Elements of performance distinguish her work from other modes of photography and highlight the staging of identity, gender, and action. Hernandez’s work is made possible through an intentional exploration of the creative process and the complex negotiation of a reliance on memory, history and unlearning.
Inspired by appearance altering photographers and early Mexican-American artists, Hernandez began experimenting with self-portraiture to address questions of identity. As a co-founder of the Chicana art collective Mas Rudas (2009-2015), her self-portraits focused on a Chicana aesthetic. Her solo practice is guided by these early influences, but Hernandez continues to expand her repertoire and skill base. Selected group exhibitions in San Antonio include Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, Artpace San Antonio, the Institute of Texan Cultures, Centro de Artes, and the Appalachian Center for Craft in Tennessee.
Hernandez is a graduate of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures Leadership Institute and Arts Advocacy Institute, and she participated in the inaugural Public Art San Antonio Mentorship Course. In 2017, she was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Emerging Artist Grant, and the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures Fund for the Arts Grant. Hernandez holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She lives and works in San Antonio, Texas.
From news release