Ana Teresa Fernandez
San Francisco, CA
Through painting, performance, installation and video, I enact and participate in the politics of intersectionality, as it shapes the personal identity, the political rhetoric and culture, and the everyday tasks of ordinary people. My work illuminates the barriers, both psychological and physical, that confine and divide gender, race, and class in western society and the global south.
My performances investigate how women identify their strengths and sensuality with acts of labor in which there is no visible economic or social value; in fact, many of these tasks are frequently considered "dirty." I use painting as a form of documentation of these performances and, in doing so, I challenge the medium's mostly-male and privileged history that elides labor and the messy process of making. I feel my documentation of performance through paining renders it more contemporary because it is a copy of the real in the original sense of simulacrum.
The painting to documentation process begins with site-specific performances that are first photographed. I use the photo to create the paintings in which I depict myself completing a real action, in a real time and space. The sites I choose are already politically or historically charged. I dress in Tango attire, performing cleaning activities, domestic chores, or actions that use my body as a measuring device. I push against the space of the performance, knowing its tangibility will be more material in the film. The dance references the battle between media representations of gender and autonomy, or the agency we seek to perform our own identities. I believe performing this tension confronts issues of labor and power.
Working with these themes has led me to dialogue, collaborate, and create both public and private works within various communities and residencies in the US, Mexico, Haiti, Spain and South Africa. Interactive installations and public interventions are an imperative part of my practice as an artist. I use an array of materials that directly engage the history and tension of a site. The public sphere and the bodies who comprise it are always essential to my work because it becomes the catalyst and activator. In Borrando la Frontera (Erasing the Border) I painted the US/Mexico divisor fence in Tijuana, sky blue to erase a portion of it. I created 5 large scale light public art installations in Downtown San Francisco asking the questions WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, to address and create public dialogue about the ongoing social tension about the gentrification in Mid Market area.
My work presents the body in ways that question how we often see things. It offers moments of reflection in the most mundane of places. I am interested in using my visual language to transcend the given and provide alternate truths.
artist’s website: www.anateresafernandez.com