HerStory February 2019: Teresita Fernandez

 We still have the music of January’s HerStory recipient, Beyoncé, accompanying our knitting (and life) as we head into February with visual artist Teresita Fernández. Teresita Fernández is an American-born sculptor known for large-scale installations that challenge the way we think about and perceive our surroundings. She was appointed by President Obama in 2011 to serve on the US Commission of Fine Arts, and is the first Latina to ever serve on the commission, and only the second person of Latino heritage to ever serve on the commission (her precursor served in the early 1970s). Her art explores the paradox of using easily-found and sometimes-disparate physical objects to represent formless elements: silk thread, stretched and suspended, to represent fire (in 2005′ Fire), or tens of thousands of hand-made mirrored glass cubes to reflect and represent the landscape of a dramatic Japanese inland sea (in 2009’s Blind Blue Landscape), for example. 

She also forces the viewer to see things in alternative ways; in 2015’s Fata Morgana, in New York City’s Madison Square Park, she created a massive outdoor sculpture, which consisted of installing a five-hundred-foot canopy of mirrors. As people walked the paths, they were forced to see the park they were strolling through as a “ghost-like, sculptural, luminous mirage that distorts the landscape and becomes a reflective portrait of urban activity.” (https://www.madisonsquarepark.org/view-do/calendar/mad-sq-art-teresita-fernandez)

Fernández’s 2012 installation, Night Writing, at gallery Lehmann Maupin in NYC (https://dailyartfair.com/exhibition/1199/teresita-fernandez-lehmann-maupin) is the inspiration for this month’s Preconceived Notion colorway. The installation is a bold vision in pinks, blacks, and greys. It’s constructed of a series of large works on paper, representing the very human impulse to look up to the night sky for information, guidance, navigation, and time-keeping, and how and why we interpret what we see. Fernández used Night Writing, the precursor to modern-day Braille, to translate text that became a constellation pattern of perforated holes backed by mirrors – making the work a dynamic, reflective surface. 

We hope you enjoy spending a bit of time being inspired by Teresita Fernández’s view of the world, and we hope you are able, through the knitting of this skein, to experience a bit of the turning-on-its-head of your usual preconceived notions that she would surely want you to feel. Maybe pair this skein with an acid green, or a bright yellow. A deep blue or a blood-red. Or knit up some socks that take you on a journey, like Skew or Sidewinders. Or just knit something mindless while you stroll through an exhibition of Teresita Fernández’s work. 

Leave a comment