Teresita Fernández

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Teresita Fernández
Born 1968
Miami
Nationality American
Education Southwest Miami High School
Alma mater BFA: Florida International University
MFA: Virginia Commonwealth University
Known for U.S. Commission of Fine Arts
Awards MacArthur Foundation, Guggenheim Fellowship, American Academy in Rome

Teresita Fernández (b. 1968, Miami, Florida) is an artist best known for her prominent public sculptures and unconventional use of materials. Fernández’s work is characterized by an interest in perception and the psychology of looking. Her experiential, large-scale works are often inspired by landscape and natural phenomena as well as diverse historical and cultural references. The artist has lived and worked in Brooklyn, New York since 1997. She is represented by Lehmann Maupin in New York City.

The artist’s work has explored issues in contemporary art related to perception and the fabrication of the natural world. Often her sculptures present spectacular optical illusions and evoke natural phenomena, land formations, and water in its infinite forms.

Life[edit]

Fernández was born in 1968 in Miami, Florida to Cuban parents in exile. Her family fled Fidel Castro’s regime in July 1959, six months after the Cuban Revolution. As a child, she spent much of her time making things in the atelier of her great aunts and grandmother, all whom had been trained as highly skilled couture seamstresses in Havana, Cuba. Fernández graduated from Southwest Miami High School in 1986. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Florida International University in 1990, and her Masters of Fine Art from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1992.

In 1997, Fernández lived in Moriya, Ibaraki during an artist’s residency with Arcus Project. She has continued to visit Japan regularly over the last 18 years and cites her ongoing relationship with Japan as a having a significant impact on her:

On April 30th, 2015, Fata Morgana the artist’s most ambitious project will open in New York’s Madison Square Park. The Madison Square Park Conservancy will present the outdoor sculpture consisting of 500 running feet of golden, mirror-polished discs that create canopies above the pathways around the park’s central Oval Lawn.

Career and Selected Works[edit]

In 1996, Fernández had her first solo exhibition in New York at Deitch Projects, where she transformed the gallery into an empty, indoor swimming pool that was in part inspired by a house designed for Josephine Baker in 1920’s Paris. The following year she was included in an exhibition at New Museum and in a group show titled The Crystal Stopper at Lehmann Maupin curated by Carlos Basualdo. Her first solo museum show was at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia in 1999. Soon after that she had solo exhibitions at Site Santa Fe, Castello di Rivoli, and The Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, in Malaga, Spain.

2000-2001[edit]

Bamboo Cinema, 2001. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong

Fernández’s site-specific project titled Hothouse was installed at The Museum of Modern Art. The work was commission as part of Open Ends, the third and final cycle of MoMA2000, on view September 28, 2000 through January 2, 2001. The installation, a sprawling vine-like pattern (white on the front and green on the back), meandered across the glass looking out to Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden.

The Public Art Fund commissioned Fernández’s Bamboo Cinema (2001) in New York’s Madison Square Park. The sculpture, a maze-like form made of concentric circles that functioned like an early cinematic device, was made of translucent elements that optically shifted the surroundings like an animated filmstrip. The vertical elements of the sculpture were made of extruded polycarbonate tubes of different diameters that had a green-hued stripe pattern embedded into them. The transparent tubes allowed different degrees of visibility from every angle. As in the earliest examples of cinematic devices, the vertical lines acted as a continuous shutter, constantly interrupting any movement so that it appeared to flicker.

2004-2006[edit]

Seattle Cloud Cover, 2006. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong

At age thirty-five, she became the youngest artist commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum for the museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park. Her permanently installed work, Seattle Cloud Cover (2006), allows visitors to walk under a block-long covered skyway while viewing the city's skyline appearing through tiny holes in color-saturated glass.

In 2005, she created a piece called Fire during her residency at The Fabric Workshop and Museum that was constructed using thousands of silk threads from Franco Scalamandré. The dyed silk threads were held taut between two rings and suspended from the ceiling, creating a unique optical illusion of transparency and dense color that appeared to vibrate when experienced by the moving viewer.

2009-2010[edit]

Blind Blue Landscape, 2009. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.

Fernández has made many sculptures out of raw, mined graphite as a way of looking at the intersection between drawing, land art and landscape painting. Her sculpture Borrowdale (Drawn Waters) (2009) is a reference to Cumbria, England, the location where graphite was first discovered and mined in the 1500’s.

Stacked Waters, 2009. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.

Fernández’s Blind Blue Landscape (2009) at the renowned Bennesee Art Site in Naoshima, Kagawa consists of over thirty thousand hand-made mirrored glass cubes installed on a curved wall in the Tadao Ando designed building. Each mirror becomes like a miniature portrait reflecting the dramatic landscape of the Seto Inland Sea outside.

Stacked Waters, 2009. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.

In 2009, The Blanton Museum of Art, commissioned the large permanent work titled Stacked Waters that occupies the museum’s Rapoport Atrium. Stacked Waters consists of 3,100 square feet of custom-cast acrylic that covers the walls in a striped pattern. The work’s title alludes to artist Donald Judd’s “stack” sculptures—series of identical boxes installed vertically along wall surfaces—as well as to his sculptural explorations of box interiors. Fernández noticed how The Blanton’s atrium functions like a box, and given its architectural nods to the arches of Roman baths and cisterns, she sought to fill its spatial volume with an illusion of water.

2013-2014[edit]

Black Sun, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.

In 2013, Fernández installed a show at Lehmann Maupin Chrystie Street titled Night Writing, which consisted of an installation and a series of large works on paper created at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute. The work explored the idea of how humans have always looked up at the night sky for information, guidance, navigation and time-keeping. The title of the piece comes from an early form of braille which Fernández used to translate text that became a constellation pattern of perforated holes backed by mirrors--making the work a dynamic, reflective surface.

Fernández's largest solo exhibition to date, As Above So Below was recently on view at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. Describing a universe in balance, the phrase “as above, so below” originates from the Vedas and is an idea central to ancient alchemy, in which every action occurring on one level of reality (physical, emotional, or mental) correlates to every other. Fernández applied this concept to scale, suggesting that the vast is present in the tiny and vice versa, a kind of “intimate immensity”. Responding to MASS MoCA’s massive and light-filled first-floor galleries, Fernández created landscape-like large-scale installations alongside palm-sized sculptures that embodied this expression. The show featured exploration of two-mined, subterranean minerals, gold and graphite, to depict cosmic and light-filled images that refer to the heavens, thus suggesting both the space above and below the viewer.

Recognition[edit]

She is a 2005 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow and the recipient of many prestigious awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Artist’s Grant, an American Academy in Rome Affiliated Fellowship, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award, and a Oscar B. Cintas Fellowship.

In 2011, President Obama appointed Fernández to the serve on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, a federal panel that advises the President, Congress, and governmental agencies on national matters of design and aesthetics. She is the first Latina to serve on the Commission, and the second person of Latino heritage to serve on the CFA in its over 100-year history. Forty years before her appointment, the last Cuban Ambassador to the United States Nicolas Arroyo sat on the panel from 1971-76.

Fernandez was a resident at the ArtPace International Artist-in-Residence Program in San Antonio, TX in 1998, The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, PA in 2005, the Signapore Tyler Pratt Institute (STPI) in 2010, and the John Hardy Residency Program in Bali, Indonesia in 2011.

Her keynote address On Amnesia, Broken Pottery, and the Inside of a Form to the graduating class at her alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts, was cited by Maria Popova's blog Brain Pickings as one of the greatest commencement addresses of all time.

Collections[edit]

Fernández’s works are included in many prominent collections and have been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX; Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH; LVMH Collection, Paris, France; Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Germany; Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, Spain; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia.

Selected Solo Exhibitions[edit]

2014

  • Almine Rech, London, United Kingdom
  • Kyoto University of Art and Design, Kyoto, Japan
  • As Above So Below, MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA

2012

  • Night Writing, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY

2011

  • Pivot Points V, Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL
  • Gallery 313, Seoul, Korea
  • Focus: Teresita Fernández, Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX
  • STPI, Singapore
  • Blind Landscape, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Cleveland, OH

2010

  • Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA
  • Koyanagi Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
  • Galerie Almine Rech, Paris, France

2009

  • Blind Landscape, Contemporary Art Museum, University of South Florida, Tampa; Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX

2005

  • Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA
  • Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain

2003

  • Masataka Hayakawa Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
  • Galleria in Arco, Turin, Italy
  • Grand Arts, Kansas City, MO

2002

  • Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL

2001

  • Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy
  • Galeria Helga de Alvear, Madrid, Spain

2000

  • Site Santa-Fe, Santa Fe, NM
  • supernova, Berkeley Art Museum/Matrix, Berkeley, CA

1999

  • Borrowed Landscape, Deitch Projects, New York, NY
  • Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA

1998

  • Artpace, San Antonio, TX

1997

  • The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
  • Masataka Hayakawa Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1996

  • Deitch Projects, New York, NY

1995

  • Real/More Real, Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sara Roffino (July 15, 2014), In Conversation: Teresita Fernández with Sara Roffino Brooklyn Rail
  2. ^ Sara Roffino (July 15, 2014), In Conversation: Teresita Fernández with Sara Roffino Brooklyn Rail
  3. ^ Things to Do: Mad. Sq. Art: Teresita Fernández
  4. ^ Norr, David (2009). Teresita Fernández: Blind Landscape. JRP Ringier. ISBN 3037640499. 
  5. ^ Marina Popova (December 14, 2014), What It Really Takes to Be an Artist: MacArthur Genius Teresita Fernández’s Magnificent Commencement Address Brain Pickings

External links[edit]