Teresita Fernández's first mid-career survey opens at the Pérez Art Museum Miami

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Teresita Fernández's first mid-career survey opens at the Pérez Art Museum Miami
Installation view.

MIAMI, FLA.- Pérez Art Museum Miami is presenting the first mid-career survey of internationally-acclaimed visual artist Teresita Fernández. On view from October 17, 2019 through February 9, 2020, Teresita Fernández: Elemental, which is co-organized with Phoenix Art Museum, features more than 50 of the artist’s large-scale sculptures, installations, drawings, and wall works created over two decades.

Teresita Fernández: Elemental offers visitors an unparalleled opportunity to experience numerous works by one of the nation’s leading contemporary artists. The exhibition tells the story of a creator who, through her practice, reflects and challenges perceptions of place, the natural world and the U.S. social order, and asks viewers to contemplate who they are as an extension of where they are. The retrospective introduces visitors to the artist’s large-scale sculptures, installations, and mixed media works that merge formal and conceptual aspects of her practice through the use of natural materials and the historic genre of landscape to reinterpret relationships between nature, history, and identity.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Phoenix Art Museum on this monumental retrospective,” said PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans. “Teresita’s work and influence has been vital to the evolution of Miami’s art scene and has played a significant role in the development of our museum. We are also very grateful to have received a generous grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation to directly support the exhibition and enable us to present an in-depth series of programming around this exhibition.”

Teresita Fernández: Elemental represents the first collaboration between Phoenix Art Museum and Pérez Art Museum Miami and spans the mid-1990s to the present, offering a comprehensive view of Fernández’s career to date. Featured works include Fire (2005), which uses thousands of hand-dyed silk threads to construct flame patterns that become animated by light and color as viewers move around the sculpture, and Borrowed Landscape (1998), a room-sized installation in a darkened space where glowing colored volumes suggest an immersive, landscape.

The exhibition also showcases the artist’s most recent body of work, in which she intertwines the sublime nature of traditional landscapes with the violent history and current socio-political climate of the United States. Fernández strategically uses beauty and light to evoke a sense of vulnerability, and intimacy. Through this, she is able to speak about some of the most pressing social issues facing the United States today, including the contradictions of democracy and the repercussions of social injustice connected to land and place, while prompting viewers to engage with these important topics by "locating" themselves. Both Fire (United States of the Americas) (2017) and Charred Landscape (America) (2017) underscore Fernández’s reinterpretation of the land, presenting a contemporary American landscape marred by colonial histories, violence, and climate change that stands in stark contrast to the idealized vision of the American dream.

Based in New York, Fernández, who was born in 1968 in Miami to Cuban parents, is renowned for her prominent public installations and experiential sculptures. Through her practice, she explores perception and the psychology of looking, regularly manipulating light and space to create immersive, intimate, and evocative experiences. Using a range of materials including silk, graphite, onyx, mirrors, glass, and charcoal, her minimalist yet substantive artworks evoke landscapes, the elements, and various natural phenomena, including meteor showers, cloud formations, and the night sky.

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