Anthony Meier Fine Arts is pleased to announce Teresita Fernández: Dark Earth, the artist’s third solo exhibition with the gallery, on view 28 October – 3 December 2021. Comprising four panels made of solid charcoal on golden, metallic panels, the new work continues to challenge conventional notions of landscape art. Dark Earth extends on the artist’s decades-long interest in subtly unearthing the violent history embedded in our ideas about landscape and place.
In Dark Earth, the artist transforms thousands of tiny slivers of raw charcoal into meticulously assembled, relief images that suggest an expansive idea of place–from the ancient, historical, and subterranean to the futuristic and cosmic. While rendering luminous and poetic representations of heavenly bodies, Fernández's landscapes also unapologetically plunge deep into the buried, often omitted or erased colonial violence that continues to shape our present-day perceptions of the people and places around us. Delving deeper and farther down, the works also suggest a geological and pre-human sense of time and place while simultaneously referring to the sustainable indigneous techniques of slash and burn that kept the land fertile; and the contrasting colonial aftermath of a depleted scorched earth. Each panel in the series embodies an imagined scene that refers to its material makeup–gold, extraction, greed–as well as its counterpoint–organic charcoal (which is burned trees), agriculture, decomposition, and sustainability.
Characterized by interactive self-reflection and conceptual wayfinding, Fernández’s work engages in a quiet unraveling of place, visibility, and erasure that prompts an intimate experience for individual viewers. In Dark Earth, she elaborates on ideas of the traditional “figure in the landscape” by prompting viewers to consider their own roles in the eroded physical and psychological landscapes produced by centuries of dominant colonialism. The mirrored surfaces return to viewers a distorted reflection of themselves superimposed on the image, implicating their presence as inextricably linked to the gravitas that the landscape holds. In permeating the landscape with an anthropomorphic sensibility, Fernández has stated, “Looking at the landscape is never passive; you are in the landscape, but the landscape, and everything that has happened there, is in turn also inside of you” In her previous exhibitions at the gallery, Fernández work has referenced fire, and its associations to destruction and renewal both ecologically and socially. Dark Earth represents an extension of her career spanning interest in how the landscape connects to the human systems, histories, and narratives that intrinsically determine how we imagine “place”.