The University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present Teresita Fernández: Blind Landscape, August 17 – October 10, 2009. Teresita Fernández is internationally known for her immersive installations and evocative large-scale sculptures that address space, light, and the perception of change. The exhibition is curated by USF Institute for Research in Art Chief Curator, David Norr and will present a spectrum of the artist's most recent and ambitious projects, including a new sculpture and a room sized installation created specifically for this exhibition. Following its Tampa debut, the exhibition will travel to the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas, November 1, 2009 – January 2, 2010.
Teresita Fernández, one of the most accomplished artists of her generation, is recognized for her deft ability to transform common materials and processes into dazzling cinematic illusions, blending abstraction, reflection, and transparency into potent configurations of projection and play. Nature and perception are the schematic sources for Fernandez' picturesque materializations. Clouds, trees, water, and fire—in patterned formations of polished stainless steel, glass, plastic, and thread—double as screens, mirrors, and lenses, and vacillate between object and optical phenomena. Much like shadows or ghosts, Fernandez' doubled forms reside in the folds and margins of perception—a tangled overlay of absence and presence, nature and artifice. ''I am interested in the projection of the body, in an imaginary, kinesthetic way, penetrating history and distance cinematically, almost like a daydream,'' she explains. ''It's as if, through visual pleasure, your gaze positions you in a place without actually being there." Indeed, for Fernández, how one sees is as relevant as what one sees.
Featured among the works in the exhibition is Vertigo (sotto en su) from 2007. Made in collaboration with USF Graphicstudio, Vertigo is comprised of layers of precision-cut, highly polished metal, woven into a reflective and intricate arboreal pattern suspended high above the viewer - not unlike an immense, cascading tree branch. The multiple planes of space, through which the viewer looks, become visible simultaneously, vacillating between object and optical phenomena, continuously disassembling and reassembling. "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," states David Norr. "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."
Teresita Fernández was born in Miami, Florida in 1968. She received her BFA from Florida International University in Miami (1986-1990) and her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA (1990-1992). She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, and is represented by Lehmann Maupin Gallery. Solo exhibitions include the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain (2005), Enclosures, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1996), the Corcoran Gallery, Washington D.C. (1997), the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (1999), the Miami Art Museum (2000), Site Santa Fe, New Mexico (2001), the Witte de With in Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2001), and Castello di Rivoli, Torino, Italy (2003).
Fernández' work is included in numerous major private collections as well as the permanent collections of the St. Louis Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, the Miami Art Museum, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Sammlung Goetz, and Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. Fernández is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards both in the U.S. and abroad, including the 2005 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship, and the 1999 Louis Comfort Tiffany Award. She has had residencies in Japan, Italy, and at ArtPace in San Antonio. Fernández is the youngest artist commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum for the recently opened Olympic Sculpture Park. She was commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York for special projects in 2000, and by the NY Public Art Fund in 2001.
To accompany this major exhibition, the USFCAM is producing a 192-page book, co-published with JRP Ringier that will offer the most complete view to date of the work of this important artist. The book will contain detailed visual documentation of Fernández' last decade of work, including the new installation commissioned by the Institute for CAM's West Gallery. The publication will be fully illustrated, and feature essays by noted art and cultural critic Dave Hickey, critic and independent curator Gregory Volk, and the exhibition's curator David Norr. The publication will also feature a conversation between the artist and Anne Stringfield, free-lance writer, formerly with The New Yorker.
The Institute for Research in Art is recognized by the State of Florida as a major cultural institution and receives funding through the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Arts Council. The USF Contemporary Art Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums.