BIO / CV
Photo by Todd Gray
Judithe Hernández, first won acclaim as a muralist during the Los Angeles mural renaissance of the 1970s and as a member of the celebrated Chicano artist collective Los Four. The group would become a major force in the Chicano Art Movement and the first Chicano artists to break through the mainstream museum barrier. Together with Carlos Almaraz they painted murals for Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union, as well as the Ramona Gardens Housing Projects in East Los Angeles where they painted a pair of the first feminist empowerment murals.
As a solo artist, her career moved to the national level in 1983 with a solo exhibition at the Cayman Gallery in New York making her the first Chicana to extend her artistic reach beyond the West coast. The international significance of her work came in 1989 with the first exhibition of Chicano art in Europe, Les Démon des Anges. Hernández was one of sixteen artists (one of three women) who’s work was part of this ground-breaking exhibition. Her studio practice has been devoted to the lush pastel paintings for which she is best known. Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight has written,“…Hernández’s art is churned by her marvelous color sense, which unmoors any illustrative limits of the genre.” The legendary art historian, Margarita Nieto has also noted, "....(her work) speaks of the problematic and ephemeral situation of woman hidden in her masks of roles. The narrative quality of Hernández’ paintings speak to those masks in an extraordinary combination of darkness and color, enhanced by a subconscious precognition of a mythic past."
Over her 46-year career, she has established a significant record of exhibition and acquisition of her work by major public and private collections; which include the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the National Museum of Mexican Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Latin American Art, the Gerald Buck Collection, and the Bank of America. She has been the recipient of the prestigious University of Chicago Artist-in-Residence at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, & Culture, the C.O.L.A. Fellowship, the Sor Juana Legacy Award for “outstanding lifetime contributions to the arts” by the National Museum of Mexican Art, and the Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional Award for Achievement in the Fine Arts. In 2018, Hernández became the first American-born Latina to be honored with a solo exhibition at the Museum of Latin American Art.
Most recently, her artistic presence returned to the Los Angeles historical district when her seven-story mural “La Nueva Reina de Los Angeles” was installed on the northwest residential tower of La Plaza Village north of Olvera Street in September 2019.