In Focus: Teresita Fernández

7 November 2019 – 4 January 2020

Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York.


Lehmann Maupin is pleased to announce In Focus: Teresita Fernández. This special installation debuts the artist’s most recent series, Dark Earth, begun in 2019. The presentation will feature four panels made of solid charcoal on chromed metal that delve deeper into the artist’s interest in the buried, layered, and often violent histories of landscape and place. In Focus presentations are a recent addition to the Lehmann Maupin program that create a space for the gallery to highlight a critical aspect of an artist’s practice. These installations offer unique public access to recent, timely, or significant works by the gallery’s artists.

Merging the conceptual and the material within her Dark Earth series, Fernández sculpts raw charcoal into sumptuously textured, abstracted images that challenge conventional notions of landscape art traditions. These panoramic landscape scenes expand and contract to suggest ancient mountain ranges, bodies of flowing water, subterranean minerals, radiant skies, and the immensity of the cosmos. Fernández’s sense of the landscape suggests not only the physicality of the land, but also the history of human beings who have carefully cultivated it, or abused it, and the subsequent erasure that continues to shape our present-day perceptions of the people and places around us. Elaborating on ideas of the traditional “figure in the landscape,” Fernández uses the reflective quality of the golden metal to prompt viewers to consider their own role in this system, as their gaze is returned and distorted within this constructed landscape, and to re-examine their place in the eroded physical and psychological spaces produced by centuries of dominant colonialism. Imbuing the landscape with an anthropomorphic sensibility, Fernández has stated, “you look at the landscape, but the landscape also looks back at you.” Each panel presents a spectral scene that echoes the ancient and the vast, while also referring to the cultural histories of its material makeup—gold, conquest, violence, agriculture—and the fluctuation of power that surrounds natural resources.

Teresita Fernández, Dark Earth (Glory), 2019 (detail);


Teresita Fernández (b. 1968, Miami, FL, lives and works in Brooklyn, NY) is a 2005 MacArthur Foundation Fellow and the recipient of a number of awards including the Aspen Award for Art in 2013, the 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award in 1999. Appointed by President Obama, she was the first Latina to serve on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, a 100-year-old federal panel that advises the president and Congress on national matters of design and aesthetics.

Recent site-specific commissions include Night Writing, Park Tower at Transbay, San Francisco, CA (2019); Vînales (Mayombe Mississippi), New Orleans Museum of Art, Sculpture Garden, New Orleans, LA (2019); Island Universe, Ford Foundation, New York, NY (2019); Autumn (…Nothing Personal), Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (2018); Fata Morgana, Madison Square Park, New York, NY (2015); Stacked Waters, Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin, TX (2009); Blind Blue Landscape, Benesse Art Site, Naoshima, Japan (2009); and Seattle Cloud Cover, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, WA (2006). Fernández’s public art project, Paradise Parados, will be installed on the rooftop of the BAM Harvey Theater, Brooklyn, NY, in 2020.

Fernández received a BFA from Florida International University, Miami, in 1990 and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, in 1992. Solo exhibitions of her work have been organized at the Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ (forthcoming 2020); Pérez Art Museum Miami, Miami, FL (2019); Harvard University, Boston, MA (2018); Olana State Historic Site, Hudson, NY (2017); Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA (2014); Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX (2011); Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, OH (2011); University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, FL (2009); Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain (2005); and Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy (2001).

Fernández’s work is featured in numerous international public and private collections, including Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Bloomberg Family Foundation, New York, NY; Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisernos, New York, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL; Israel Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL; Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Germany; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.

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