Performance is a primary research tool in Ana Teresa Fernández’s multimedia practice. Dressed in a strapless black dress and stiletto heels with her hair in a topknot, she performs a single repetitive activity while making video or photographic recordings. The somatic knowledge that she gains during the action informs her next steps, be they painting, sculpture, or acts of social engagement. Her vixen costume imbues each situation with sensuality, while her Mexican American identity inflects the work with a critique of cultural assumptions and stereotypes about Latina women. Her provocative images depict her scrubbing city streets, straddling or lying prostrate over ironing boards, mopping the floor with her hair. Customarily her character explores contradictions within the construct of femininity: powerful yet vulnerable, strong enough to do manual labor yet alluring in a little black dress and heels.
Erasure, an installation consisting of large-scale paintings and video, is the artist’s reaction to the abduction of 43 male students in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico, on September 26, 2014. The students have not been seen since.
Fernández will discuss her work at a Logan Lecture on May 3 at the Denver Art Museum. Learn more.