Teresita Fernández (b. 1968, Miami, FL, lives and works in Brooklyn, NY) is best known for her prominent public installations and experiential large-scale sculptures that evoke striking landscapes. Her work, often inspired by natural wonders—meteor showers, the aurora borealis, cloud formations, fire, and the night sky—invites an individualized experience of the work and the space it occupies. Fernández places particular importance in her choice of medium, playing with the limitations of materials and employing those such as gold, graphite, and other minerals that have complicated histories often tied to colonialism. All of her work, from her immersive installations to her small graphite panels, is characterized by an interest in perception and the psychology of looking. In 2015, Fernández installed her largest public art project to date, Fata Morgana, in New York’s Madison Square Park. The work was composed of six mirrored canopies suspended above the park’s central lawn, and its title refers to the visible yet illusory line that hovers right above the horizon. In using metal to achieve the effect of a natural floating apparition, Fernández challenges the inherent characteristics of the material.
Teresita Fernández's upcoming museum retrospective, Teresita Fernández: Elemental, will tour throughout the United States and will survey over 20 years of work, from the beginning of her career to present day. The exhibition will explore the way in which Fernández's practice has engaged in the dematerialization of landscape into its fundamental parts of light, space, darkness and matter. The exhibition will also showcase the artist’s most recent bodies of work, in which she contrasts the sublime nature of traditional landscapes with the current politically charged climate of the United States. The retrospective Teresita Fernández: Elemental will open Fall 2019 at Pérez Art Museum Miami October 16, 2019 - February 23, 2020; Phoenix Art Museum March 21 – May 24, 2020; and New Orleans Museum of Art Summer 2020 – Winter 2021.
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 Olana State Historic Site, Hudson, NY (2017); Mass MoCA, North Adams, MA (2014); Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FL (2011); Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX (2011); Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, OH (2011); USF Contemporary Art Museum, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL (2009); and Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain (2005). She has produced a number of site-specific commissions including Double Glass River, Grace Farms, New Canaan, CT (2015); Fata Morgana, Madison Square Park, New York (2015); Golden (Panorama), Aspen Art Museum, CO (2014); Nocturnal (Navigation), United States Coast Guard, Washington, DC (2013); Stacked Waters, Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin, TX (2009); Starfield, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX (2009); Blind Blue Landscape, Benesse Art Site, Naoshima, Japan (2009); and Seattle Cloud Cover, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, WA (2006). Select group exhibitions featuring her work include Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom, Little Haiti Cultural Center, Miami (2017); Beyond the Horizon: Contemporary Landscape, Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, NC (2017); Cuban Forever Revisited, Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH; A Material Legacy: The Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Collection of Contemporary Art, Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ (2016); Cuban America: An Empire State of Mind, Lehman College Art Gallery, Bronx, NY (2014); Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art, Smithsonian Art Museum, Washington, DC (2013-2014); and Pattern: Follow The Rules, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, East Lansing, MI; traveled to Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, CO (2013). Fernández’s work is featured in numerous international public and private collections, including Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami; Israel Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Pérez Art Museum, Miami; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York NY.
In 2017, Fernández was elected to be a National Academician by the National Academy Museum & School, New York. She was the 2005 MacArthur Foundation Fellow and the recipient of a number of rewards 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.