Mexican artist pays tribute to lost 43 students.
ANA TERESA FERNÁNDEZ, ERASURE // San Francisco
11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Through April 16th.
Gallery Wendi Norris, 161 Jessie St., S.F. (415) 346-7812. http://gallerywendinorris.com.
Ana Teresa Fernández, Erasure 1, 2016, oil on canvas, 72 x 98 inches (182.9 x 248.9 cm).
Ana Teresa Fernández recalls the moment she first learned of the 2014 disappearance of 43 students from an Ayotzinapa, Mexico, teachers college.
“I remember being seated in my kitchen table when I first read the news of the students’ disappearance in Mexico, and feeling a tremendous pang in my stomach,” says the native of Tampico, Mexico, who earned her bachelor and master of fine arts at San Francisco Art Institute and lives in San Francisco.
The almost-all-black paintings were particularly challenging. The first one took almost eight months to finish as she concocted 15 color combinations to get the right luscious, velvety black. Still, her process is always a “marathon,” Fernández says.
“It is important to sustain that initial feeling of why you are doing the work throughout those two years,” she adds, “because it is that passion/frustration/pain/beauty/anger that will translate to the viewer.”
Gallery Wendi Norris is pleased to present Erasure, artist Ana Teresa Fernández’ second solo exhibition at the gallery.
Four new paintings produced in Fernández’ characteristic hyperrealist style will be on view. The paintings reference a performance she enacted where she carefully painted her own body black until only glimpses of color remain visible.
One painting will depict a mouth, another shows eyes, another reveals arms, and the last shows the back of a head, all painted on flat black backgrounds. She will exhibit a new sculpture, a larger than life wooden ladder set atop destabilizing rockers. A text installation describing the act of listening will be embedded into the gallery wall. Together these artworks, each representative of a component of the human body, suggest a political body being torn apart.
The series of works that comprise Erasure derives from the 2014 disappearance of 43 young male students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico, who were presumably killed for staging protests that disrupted their small town. Fernández pays tribute to these people, still missing and unaccounted for, as she confronts us with contemporary stories of censorship, hinting that the lack of justice in the disappearance of the young men is intentional, due to governments who fail to protect or value the individual.
With this body of work, Fernández responds to the political situation in Mexico and she continues her quest to give strength to the unheard and unseen, the powerless among us.
ABOUT ANA TERESA FERNÁNDEZ:
Born in 1981 in Tampico, Mexico, she lives and works in San Francisco.
Through her work, she explores the politics of intersectionality and the ways it shapes personal identity, culture, and social rhetoric through painting, performance, and video. In 2015 Fernández received widespread press coverage for restaging her 2011 performance Borrando la Frontera, where she painted the Mexico-United States border fence sky blue so that one can easily imagine the landscape without the barrier.
Fernández has exhibited at Humboldt State University, Eureka, California; the Tijuana Biennial in Mexico; Snite Museum at Notre Dame University, Indiana; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, and The Oakland Art Museum.
Her large-scale 5W public art project in San Francisco was awarded Best of the Bay by 7×7 Magazine in 2013. The Headlands Center for the Arts granted Fernández the Tournesol Award and her films have been screened at festivals internationally. In 2015 Humboldt State University published a catalogue on her solo exhibition at the First Street Gallery titled All or Nothing.