President Barack Obama has appointed Teresita Fernández, a MacArthur Award winning visual artist, to serve on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, a federal panel that advises the President, Congress and governmental agencies on national matters of design and aesthetics. Fernández lives and works in New York and is represented by Lehmann Maupin Gallery.
Members of the arts panel play a key role in shaping Washington’s architecture by approving the site and design of national memorials and museums; advise the U.S. Mint on the design of coins and medals; and administer the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs program, which benefits non-profit cultural entities that provide arts programming in Washington. Seven commissioners appointed by the President serve four-year terms.
Past members have included architects, landscape architects and artists, including Daniel Chester French who sculpted the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., whose projects include the National Mall, Jefferson Memorial and the White House grounds.
Teresita Fernández (b. 1968) is a visual artist best known for her prominent public sculptures and unconventional use of materials. Fernández’s work is characterized by an interest in perception and the psychology of looking. Her experiential, large-scale works are often inspired by landscape and natural phenomena as well as diverse historical and cultural references. She is a 2005 MacArthur Foundation Fellow and has received many prestigious awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award, an American Academy in Rome Affiliated Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Artist’s Grant.
Fernández’s large-scale commissions include a recent site-specific work titled Blind Blue Landscape at the renowned Benesse Art Site in Naoshima, Japan. She is the youngest artist commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum for the recently opened Olympic Sculpture Park where her permanently installed work Seattle Cloud Cover allows visitors to walk under a covered skyway while viewing the city’s skyline through optically shifting multicolored glass.
Ms. Fernández’s works are included in many prominent collections and have been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Modern Art Museum of Ft. Worth, the Castello di Rivoli in Turin, Italy, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo in Malaga, Spain, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. Fernández is currently on the board of Artpace, a non- profit, international artist’s residency program.
She received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and her BFA from Florida International University.