AN ARTIST FINDS A HOME IN DALLAS

BY EMMA BURLEIGH

Stacie Hernandez relocated to Dallas in 2017, the culmination of a journey that led her to a new home. That journey now includes a new art gallery and working studio on Dragon Street, in the heart of the Design District. The combined gallery and studio allows Hernandez, an abstract expressionist painter and multimedia artist, to combine her professional art and business expertise, and is the result of years of hard work and preparation. It is, Hernandez hopes, a place where “art patrons can enjoy the gallery experience, have an opportunity to explore personal commissioned works, and to view the creative process.”

Hernandez brings a deep, rich experience in the arts. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and a master’s degree from the renowned Pratt Art Institute in New York, where she learned from painter George McNeil, who became a source of inspiration and a mentor. Following her education, she worked as co-director for the Julius Lowy Frame and Restoring Company, where she oversaw the restoration and reframing of famous paintings by old masters, including Van Gogh’s The Starry Night and Cezanne’s The Bathers. Of this part of her career in art, Hernandez says, “The projects I worked on gave me a confidence that art could be a career, along with a close-up appreciation for historic art.”

After leaving New York, Hernandez moved to Bergenfield, New Jersey, to open The Art School for the Visual Arts Bergenfield and then later to St. Augustine, Florida, where she opened Palencia Fine Arts Academy. “Owning and instructing an art school fulfilled my desire to continue my personal painting while challenging my students’ creativity,” she says. In addition, Hernandez extended her classes to include teaching art to students with disabilities, an area that currently isn’t widely offered, and received several awards for her efforts.

The creative process for Hernandez is a slow and careful one that emphasizes efficiency and precision, so that every brushstroke, color and texture is chosen specifically to meet the vision she aims to achieve. She describes her inspiration as being broken into a multitude of periods. Shifts in her work typically coincide with changes in her surroundings, personal relationships or some major life event, crossing landscape, time, geography and stage in life. “As an abstract expressionist,” she states, “I strive to create the emotions associated with people and events. It is the memory, the feeling, the connection that makes those moments stick, and it is that connection that drives my work in selection of the medium, the nature of the work, the colors and movements, textures and layers that comprise it.” She adds, “Whether painting, sculpture or photograph, the work is an affirmation that people experience music, landscape, emotions and memories in complex, interconnected ways.” Hernandez has been featured in curated exhibitions in galleries in many different cities, including New York City, and she recently had her first Dallas solo exhibition, entitled Odyssey. The exhibition included over 40 of her newer pieces and was a resounding success. “That show allowed me to stretch into new media, and I was pleased with the reception it received and the opportunity to meet new collectors,” Hernandez says.

For 2019, Hernandez plans to complement her abstract work with a new series inspired by Caravaggio that will feature narrative figurative paintings with contemporary elements. She also intends to host curated exhibits for other local artists to give them a place where they can share their own artwork. Hernandez is excited about this next phase of her artistic journey. “I enjoy the creative and frustrating parts of this industry,” she says. “It is the complex emotional struggle or angst, as they say, in art that stimulates creativity and powers the energy needed to create. I look forward to meeting new collectors and others who enjoy both the product and the process.”

Emma Burleigh is a part-time freelance writer living in College Station, Texas.