How Artist Teresita Fernández Turns Graphite, the Stuff of Stardust, Into Memories
Fine Art

How Artist Teresita Fernández Turns Graphite, the Stuff of Stardust, Into Memories

From a distance, contemporary artist Teresita Fernández’s sculpture Nocturnal (Horizon Line) appears to be a simple, modern rectangle of silvery gray. In the artist’s words , “when approached directly, you see nothing, just a simple dark gray rectangle. But when you start moving, the pieces become animated. . . . It’s almost as if the image develops before your eyes.” Gradations of color and texture emerge, forming three distinct horizontal bands. The first, smooth and flat, evokes the sky. The second, shiny and polished, nods to water. The third, chunky and organic, represents the Earth. The differences in consistency are made possible by Fernández’s use of graphite, a mineral formed over thousands of years under the Earth’s surface. A new episode of “Re:Frame,” a video web series produced by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, investigates the compelling role graphite has played in the history of art—and in Fernández’s work. “Teresita Fernández is a researcher in many ways and she’s also a conceptual artist,” says E. Carmen Ramos , curator of Latino art and the museum’s deputy chief curator. Born in Miami in 1968, Fernández received her BA from Florida International University and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. In […]

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