White House appoints visual artist Teresita Fernández to U.S. Commission of Fine Arts

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  President Barack Obama has appointed Teresita Fernández, a MacArthur Award-winning visual artist, to serve on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. Fernández will be one of seven commission members, serving a four-year term on this federal panel, which advises the President, Congress and governmental agencies on national matters of design and aesthetics.

According to the White House press release dated Friday, September 16:

Members of the arts panel play a key role in shaping Washington’s architecture by approving the site and design of national memorials and museums; advise the U.S. Mint on the design of coins and medals; and administer the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs program, which benefits non-profit cultural entities that provide arts programming in Washington. Seven commissioners appointed by the President serve four-year terms.

Past members have included architects, landscape architects and artists, including Daniel Chester French who sculpted the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., whose projects include the National Mall, Jefferson Memorial and the White House grounds.

Portrait of Teresita Fernández | Photo by Noboru Morikawa at Benesse Art Site

Born in 1968, Teresita Fernández is a visual artist best known for her prominent public sculptures and unconventional use of materials. According to Lehmann Maupin, the Chelsea gallery which represents Fernández in New York City, her work “is characterized by an interest in perception and the psychology of looking. Her experiential, large-scale works are often inspired by landscape and natural phenomena as well as diverse historical and cultural references.”

Her immersive room-size installations and evocative large-scale sculptures address space, light, and perception and explore the cultural fabrication of nature. These referential constructions are characterized by Fernández’s deft transformation of common materials into dazzling cinematic illusions. Through minimal means, Fernández blends abstraction, reflection, and transparency into potent mixtures of projection and play. “I am interested in the projection of the body, in an imaginary, kinesthetic way, penetrating history and distance cinematically, almost like a daydream,” she explains. “It’s as if, through visual pleasure, your gaze positions you in a place without actually being there.” For Fernández, how one sees is as relevant as what one sees.

Fernández’s large-scale commissions include a recent site-specific work titled Blind Blue Landscape at the renowned Benesse Art Site in Naoshima, Japan. She is the youngest artist commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum for the recently opened Olympic Sculpture Park where her permanently installed work Seattle Cloud Cover allows visitors to walk under a covered skyway while viewing the city’s skyline through optically shifting multicolored glass.

Fernández’s works are included in many prominent collections and have been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Modern Art Museum of Ft. Worth, the Castello di Rivoli in Turin, Italy, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo in Malaga, Spain, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia.

She is a 2005 MacArthur Foundation Fellow and has received many prestigious awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award, an American Academy in Rome Affiliated Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Artist’s Grant. Fernández is currently on the board of Artpace, a non- profit, international artist’s residency program.

Large-scale sculpture "Mirror (Trellis)" by Teresita Fernández (2010) | 2 layers polished precision-cut stainless steel with screen printing on back layer | Dimensions: 46 1/2 x 41 inches

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