Teresita Fernández’s work is characterized by an expansive rethinking of what constitutes landscape: from the subterranean to the cosmic, from national borders, to the more elusive psychic landscapes we carry within. Fernández unravels the intimacies between matter, human beings, and locations, and her luminous work poetically challenges ideas about land and landscape by exposing the history of colonization and the inherent violence embedded in how we imagine and define place, and, by extension, one another. Questions of power, visibility, and erasure are important tenets of Fernández’s work, and she confronts these themes in subtle ways, insisting on intertwining beauty, the socio-political, the intimate, and the immense. Imbuing the landscape with an anthropomorphic sensibility, Fernández has said “You look at the landscape, but the landscape also looks back at you; Landscape is more about what you don’t see than what you do see.”
Fernández is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow and the recipient of numerous awards, including a Creative Capital Award; Meridian Cultural Diplomacy Award; Guggenheim Fellowship; Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award; American Academy of Rome Fellowship (AFAAR); and a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist’s Grant in Visual Arts. In 2011, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. She is the first Latina to serve on the 100-year-old federal panel, which advises the president and Congress on national matters of design and aesthetics. In 2016, she conceived and directed the U.S. Latinx Arts Futures Symposium with the Ford Foundation, which brought together artists, curators, museum directors, and scholars from across the country to discuss modes of visibility within cultural institutions.
Her work has been exhibited internationally at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Phoenix Art Museum; Pérez Art Museum Miami; Harvard University, Boston; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland; Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Smithsonian Museum of American Art; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; and Castello di Rivoli, Turin, among others. Fernández has also created numerous large-scale public sculptures, including at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; New Orleans Museum of Art; Ford Foundation, New York; and Madison Square Park. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Artist portrait by Axel Dupeux