Artist in Residence: Teresita Fernández

By all accounts, Cuban-American sculptor Teresita Fernández is reaching her pinnacle. Her works recently became part of the permanent collections at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art and Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, among other nationally respected art institutions.

Now based in Brooklyn, Teresita also debuted her prints, (named “Silver Screen/30 Dissolves”) inspired by the moon and shades of silver, at the 10th Art Basel Miami Beach, which ranks top among the most prestigious art shows in the Americas.

The moon-spun inspiration came to her during a month-long stay in Ubud, a lush island town in Bali, in August, as the first-ever artist in residence for the John Hardy fine jewelry house.

In October, Fernández was appointed by President Obama to serve a four-year term on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, a seven-member advisory group that consults with the president and Congress on national matters of design import, such as prospective sites of future national memorials and museums. She won the 2005 MacArthur Genius Grant and was the youngest artist to be commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum for the recently opened Olympic Sculpture Park. Her laminated Cloud Cover offers visitors a view of the cityscape through shifting glass.

Fernández is most celebrated for her room-size installations and impressively large-scale public sculptures, often made with uncanny materials, such as graphite. Her work is influenced by natural phenomena and landscapes. It challenges perception and explores the psychology of seeing. Her pieces evoke natural wonders -- fire, sunlight, rainbows, water -- and breaks new sculptural ground by embracing architecture and landscape architecture as powerful influences. In a few words, her art is raw and contemplative, edged with a playfully direct the-bigger-the-better attitude.

Photo Credit: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

by Julie D. Andrews