This Artist’s Multi-Media Works Explore Life’s Inevitabilities


artis lujan perez hernandez

It was in Tupelo, Mississippi, that Luján Peréz Hernández delved deeply into the twin passions that have captivated her ever since: printmaking and farming. The Madrid-born artist, who spent her early years between Spain and the U.S., admits that Mississippi seemed an unlikely destination after earning her BFA at the University of Central Florida. But Tupelo was where her mentor, artist Ke Francis, had moved his printing presses after retiring from teaching, and he created a nurturing place for former students to launch their careers.

When she wasn’t making prints, Peréz Hernández spent her time there working on a small farm, where she witnessed the cycle of birth, life and death. That experience continues to reverberate in her art, which combines printmaking, sculpture and painting, and touches on themes of love and loss often interwoven with art historical references and botanical motifs.

woocut floral sculpture in progress

pedestal in progress

barn studio with woodcut sculpture

art supplies on a shelf

woodcut floral sculpture in a studio

artist Luján Peréz Hernández

Last spring, Peréz Hernández moved to the quiet hamlet of Old Chatham, where she lives full-time and commutes to the city to teach at the New York Academy of Art. Not content with solely producing woodcut prints (like the ethereal pieces on paper that she created using her signature handmade inks), she’s expanded her practice to encompass wall sculptures made from birch plywood and standalone, vessel-like pieces carved from fallen trees sourced from her property. “Since moving up here, I’ve been in a transitional moment,” she says, “and I’m starting to incorporate materials from my life—like finding original flooring nails from the early 1800s in the house we’re renovating and conceptualizing what those material can be for the story I’m telling in a piece.”

Whether depicting the untimely death of a loved one or what happens to our bodies after we die, the artist’s stories poignantly embrace subjects that others often shy away from. It’s an approach she shares with her partner, a funeral director and coroner. “Our society doesn’t really speak of death or the logistics that happen when someone passes away,” Peréz Hernández says. “Trying to normalize and open up a conversation about it is a big part of my work.”

In her 1800s timber barn, where she moves between her woodshop and an area set aside for “clean” work like painting, Peréz Hernández is currently preparing for solo shows in Brooklyn this June with Swivel Galley and in Paris next year with Gallery LJ. But you’re just as likely to find her outside in her garden, taking inspiration from nature and the inescapable truths of the seasons.