Precious stone: Teresita Fernandez wields the power of malachite for new series
Teresita Fernandez has had a big year. From her monumental, canopy-like installation Fata Morgana, composed of mirror-polished metal discs, which drew a record number of daily admirers to New York’s Madison Square Park over the summer, to the thoughtful installation Double Glass River which currently resides at Grace Farms, the MacArthur ‘genius award’ winning artist has become a formidable force in the art world.
This week, Lehmann Maupin’s New York gallery celebrates Fernández’s latest sculptural works, a series of veritable ‘intimate interior landscapes’ in concrete, cast bronze, malachite, and glazed ceramic.
For this riveting body of work, Fernández (who served on President Obama’s U.S. Commission of Fine Arts) turned to the Viñales Valley, an iconic and surreal landscape with extensive caves in rural Cuba, for both inspiration and palette in exploring scale. Rather than turn to marble or materials sourced from the streets, Fernández first plucked up emerald green chunks of malachite. Her mixed-media sculpture Viñales (Reclining Nude) is composed of concrete sculptural bases topped by the glimmering mineral.
’I was fascinated by the saturated rich greens and turquoise colours in malachite and the way the natural clustered formations resembled aerial views of lush landscapes; how something on a small scale such as that mineral sample could suggest the vastness of places, maps, regions, and rainforests all seen from above,’ Fernández notes from her Boerum Hill studio.
Malachite’s quixotic quality with flecks of silver is also reflected in a set of ceramic panels measuring twelve feet in length. Sparkling in various shades of green, blue, black and tobacco brown, the panels, made of some 1,000 minute tiles, are all-encompassing in nature.