by Gilberto Zamora
June 4, 2010
In viewing Ana Fernandez‘s paintings, there is an invitation to wonderment, darkness and a bit of humor. Her new series, “Texas,” combine familiar domestic elements with subtle, sometimes eerie, hints of the unknown. We couldn’t wait to ask her a few questions. She was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. She holds an MFA in Painting from University of California at Los Angeles, and a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She exhibits nationally and has solo exhibitions this spring in Los Angeles, this summer in Chicago and at Joan Grona Gallery in San Antonio in 2011.
Check out our interview with this fascinating artist, below.
Prove&Confusion: The invitation I received to your show described your work as magic realism. How do you feel about the label magic realism?
Ana Fernandez: I would describe my art as naturalistic and realistic with elements of the fantastic…supernatural. I remember seeing the dioramas at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science when I was a child. The museum was kept cold and really dark. The 15-foot mythical sea monster mural was terrifying. The sea loomed over us like a frozen tidal wave, and the monster was so creepy! It was better than any painting that I’d ever seen in the art museum, at that age. It really had an effect on me.
Prove&Confusion: In reading your bio, I see that you’ve lived in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Antonio, Texas. The series you’re showing at 2nd FLR Gallery is called Texas, so have the major Cities you’ve lived in influenced your work?
Ana Fernandez: Los Angeles and Chicago are both amazing and inspirational places to live, but San Antonio is my home and is the stimulus for this body of work. The content of my series as a whole contains some of my favorite subjects: magic, true crime, paranormal activity, sex, murder, occult, mythology, witchcraft and superstition all set in the neighborhoods of my hometown. And, here in San Antonio, we believe in that stuff. This city is haunted and its inhabitants are superstitious. (And we are very festive, too.) It’s a wonderful place! My painting called “210″ is a vanitas themed painting, for example.
Prove&Confusion: Your series “Supersonic” back 2004 was a lot more collage and abstract than your current “Texas” series, has your approach and style changed or do you alternate between them?
Ana Fernandez: When I began at UCLA I completely shifted gears and started doing something completely different. Before, I was making paintings very similar to what I do now. The Supersonic show you referenced was an exhibition in 2004 featuring MFA candidates from eight of Southern California’s art programs. At UCLA, It was as if I just threw everything in my studio- magazines, old paintings, drawings- into a heavy duty wood chipper and spat out large scale collages. I did that for three years. My dog used to eat bits of the collage material when I wasn’t looking. I used to find little compositions in his poo. I should have photographed some of them.
Prove&Confusion: As an artist were there any particular Latina women that influenced you?
Ana Fernandez: One of my favorite artists is Remedios Vara, a surrealist painter who was born in Spain in 1908, but lived in Mexico most of her life. Her work had aspects of mysticism, geometry and and alchemy in it that I feel relate to my work. My all time favorite painter would be Francesco Goya in terms of style and content, particularly the Black Paintings and his depictions of witchcraft.
Come see Ana Fernandez’s work at 2ND Floor Gallery
903 W. 19th St. Chicago, IL 60608 on Saturday June 5, 2010. 6PM. You can also read more about her in her interview with Gozamos!