Teresita Fernández (born Miami, 1968) is a contemporary sculptor and artist based in New York. A recipient of the 2005 MacArthur Foundation "Genius Fellowship", Fernández's work is characterized by an interest in perception and the psychology of looking. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award in 1999. In September 2011, Fernández was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. She is represented by the Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York City.
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. She has had numerous major solo exhibitions including the Corcoran Gallery, Washington DC; ICA, Philadelphia; Castello di Rivoli, Turin; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Malaga; Miami Art Museum, Miami; Site Santa-Fe; USF Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa; and The Blanton Museum, Austin.
She has done many artists residencies including Arcus Project, Japan; Artpace, San Antonio; The American Academy in Rome; the Marie Walshe Sharpe Space Program, New York; and the Singapore Tyler Print Institute.
Fernández's work is included in numerous major private collections as well as the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; St. Louis Art Museum, MoCA, Miami; the Miami Art Museum; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; the De la Cruz Collection; the Sammlung Goetz; and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.
She is currently on the Board of Trustees for Artpace, A Foundation for Contemporary Art, San Antonio.
In 2001, with sponsorship from Public Art Fund, Teresita Fernández installed Bamboo Cinema in Madison Square Park. The installation was made up of 8 ft acrylic tubing that perforated the surroundings like a slow moving film strip. She is the youngest artist commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum for the recently opened Olympic Sculpture Park where her work Seattle Cloud Cover allows visitors to walk through a covered skyway while viewing the city's skyline through tiny holes in multicolored glass.
Fernández has completed many large-scale commissions including in 2009 a site-specific work titled "Blind Blue Landscape" at the renowned Bennesee Art site in Naoshima, Japan. The work consists of many thousands of 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 outside. Between 2008-10 she installed large permanent commissions such as "Starfield" at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium; "Hothouse(Blue)" at the Louis Vuitton Maison in San Francisco; and a work titled "Stacked Waters" that occupies the entire atrium of the Blanton Museum of Art.
Teresita Fernández's work has explored issues in contemporary art related to problems of perception and the fabrication of the natural world. Often her sculptures present spectacular optical illusions and evoke rainbows, sunlight, fire and water. For a 2002 solo exhibition at Lehmann Maupin Gallery she made works which consisted of abstracted representations of natural phenomena such as a sweeping waterfall made from acrylic bands of white and blue and a parabolic sand dune covered in glass beads representing the shimmering effect of light on sand. In 2005 she exhibited the Ring of Fire, a piece created during her residency at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia and constructed from thousands of silk threads from Scalamandre. The threads were held taut between two rings and suspended from the ceiling, creating a unique optical illusion of transparency and dense color. In 2007 Fernández had her first gallery exhibition since being awarded the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2005. The exhibition, also at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, focused on the artist's interest in opacity, transparency and the psychology of looking. Fernández employed mirrors throughout the exhibition, with specific reference to an 18th-century painter's tool containing a lustrous black mirror used to view tonalities in the landscape. Blind Landscape, a traveling exhibition that was displayed at The University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum and The Blanton Art Museum at University of Texas, Austin, featured twelve large sculptural works of Fernández made from 2002 - 2009. Featured among these was "Vertigo (Sotto in Sui)" created in 2007 from layers of precision-cut, highly polished metal, woven into a reflective and intricate arboreal pattern suspended above the viewer. "The idea that one must turn away from nature in order to see it is a loaded concern at the crux of Fernández’ new works. Nature, for Fernández, is a fabrication of culture where cinematic illusions, industrial design and lasting ephemeral experience intertwine—collapsing artifice and nature into prismatic experience," curator David Norr says of the exhibition.
- Cerejido, Elizabeth, "A Room of One's Own, Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, Florida International University, 2006
- Thomas E. Luebke, ed., Civic Art: A Centennial History of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, 2013): Appendix B, p. 543.
- Teresita Fernández: Bamboo Cinema, Public Art Fund, 2001.
- Ellwood, Mark. "The Art of Splendid Isolation", Financial Times, April 2010.
- Kwon, Liz, "Art & Space: Teresita Fernández," Bob, February 2010
- Wellen, Laura, "Teresita Fernández: Blanton Museum of Art," Artforum, March 2010
- Harper, Paula. "Teresita Fernandez at Miami Art Museum" Art in America, November 2003
- Teresita Fernández: Immersion, Grand Arts, 2003.
- Teresita Fernández, Fabric Workshop and Museum, 2005.
- Richard, Frances,"Teresita Fernandez at Lehmann Maupin, Artforum, June 2007
- Press Release. Teresita Fernández: Blind Landscape, University of South Florida, 2009.