Among us walk giants. Giants of music, architecture, literature, art. Mexican painter Ana Teresa Fernandez is one of those giants. Though many will try, some for the whole of their lives, few will achieve the virtuosity that is seen in Fernandez’s work. The fact that she holds an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute almost seems immaterial. Talent like this? Unfettered, unabashed, unrivaled.
Her paintings question the double standards that modern women face with a level of detail and intricacy—and intimacy—not often encountered. With a growing resume of international publications and exhibitions, Fernandez is on her way to becoming one of the foremost photorealistic painters of her generation. The artist describes her series “Ablution” better than I could ever hope to:
[quote] Ablution is a series of paintings that derive from performances that submerges the body into specific sites, addressing rituals of cleansing and maintenance, focusing on gender, labor, sexuality and race. What does it mean to be clean in today’s society? Using water as a metaphor for purity, and playing an ironic dirty twist for ”wetback”, these performances dive into history’s religious transformation from paganism; water as a symbol for fertility and strength, then into Catholicism; washing away our guilt, deconstructing a watered down identity as a bicultural immigrant. No matter how much we try to sculpt our own identities and bodies through repetitive actions, our reflection unto society can always be distorted and broken up through people’s own perceptions.” [/quote]