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What You Need to Know: Teresita Fernández is a New York-based conceptual artist best known for her immersive, often poetic installations that reconsider and challenge accepted parameters of landscape and place, exposing how the history and inherent violence of colonization are linked to our understanding of geography. In her upcoming exhibition “Caribbean Cosmos” at Lehmann Maupin, London, Fernández skirts existing continental narratives and instead embraces the Caribbean as a rich, diasporic, and decentralized model for culture, creating a series of swirling, vigorous landscapes out of elemental materials such as fired clay, etched and polished copper, and solid charcoal made from burned trees.
Why We Like It: “Caribbean Cosmos” offers a metaphysical vision of the natural world, drawn from the coexisting island cultures of the region. Through Fernández’s transformation of these raw materials into poetically charged seascapes and landscapes, the artworks become almost alchemical in nature, capturing in static form the fleeting and yet perpetual cycles of decay, evolution, and renewal. In the recent series, imagery fluctuates between the cosmic and the microscopic, the geological and the ephemeral, often within a single piece. For instance, in the exhibition’s titular work, Caribbean Cosmos (2020), viewers are presented with a jaw-dropping 12-foot panel composed of thousands of tiny ceramic tesserae, glazed with minerals from the earth and fired at high temperatures—a process the artist sees as volcanic in essence. The colossal work is at once universal and intimate in essence, with its petite tiles forming swirling shapes that suggest colliding galaxies, aerial views of hurricanes, or the circulatory systems of the human body.
According to the Gallery: “Fernández’s adept manipulation of scale reminds us that the physical forces shaping the universe are the same as those that govern our own bodily rhythms. The richly colored, highly reflective surface of the panel inserts the viewer into the artist’s shifting landscape, prompting deep contemplation and an attempt to orient ourselves with wayfinding markers, even as the abstracted image evades recognition…throughout ‘Caribbean Cosmos’ Fernández illuminates this intimate and profoundly holistic worldview as she examines the islands of the Caribbean, the waters beneath and between them, and the region’s rippling global implications across time and geography.”