The art of Ana Teresa Fernandez is provocative, no doubt. The first painting of hers that I saw was of a woman in a silk black dress using her hair to mop the shore of an ocean. Instantly, I was attracted.
In her interviews she has mentioned her attraction to juxtaposition, to portraying elegant woman doing labor-intensive tasks while their faces remain hidden, a metaphor for the current state of women’s issues. Women should either fuck or work and who they are is unimportant.
I became familiar with Fernandez’ work at a time in my life when it seemed most needed: Planned Parenthood had just been defunded by the House of Representatives and a close friend of mine had been sexually assaulted for the second time. A more spiritual man might be convinced that fate or cosmic forces beyond our control had something to do with Fernandez’ art appearing at seemingly the “right” time but as an unenlightened worldling, I don’t quite see it that way. To me, all this, more or less, logically fell into place but, for some, logic is not as beautiful as fate or an invisible hand guiding every action. I do not doubt that I would have enjoyed Fernandez’ art had not the events preceding my familiarity with her had happened but it’s because of these events that I appreciate what she talks about even more.
Fernandez’ presentation at the Northern Arizona University Native American Cultural Center was the first presentation I attended at NAU. It seemed more a sign of the times than an exercise in poor planning but I had been watching so much Star Trek that week and I couldn’t help but get a faint image of being on the Starship Enterprise. It was quite an amusing sight. Perhaps, that explains all my Spock-like talk of logic – the aforementioned friend does in fact call me the Mexican Spock. I trust because I am logical and not because I have large ears.
What impresses me most about Fernandez’ and her art is how when she witnesses an injustice in the world – be it a border or women’s rights – she speaks up and that is the most logical thing to do.