Fausto Fernandez has been crossing literal and metaphorical boundaries his entire life. Fernandez grew up between Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas. He earned his art degrees from University of Texas, El Paso, and his paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries in both Mexico and throughout the U.S. Currently, a massive painting of Fausto Fernandez’s is included in a major exhibition at the Tucson Museum of Art, alongside such well-known American contemporary artists as Nick Cave, Catherine Opie, Jim Dine, Robert Longo, and Andy Warhol. His works were also featured in a traveling exhibition titled Beauty Reigns: The Baroque in Contemporary Art, organized by the McNay Art Museum.
Throughout his career, Fernandez’s paintings attempt to find structure in chaos. He incorporates elements such as maps, blueprints, airplane plans, emojis, language, and geometric shapes in attempts to “find his way” in both painting and in life. These organizational/directional tools Fernandez places in his paintings meander through layers of abstract painting, splatters, collaged fabric, diamond dust glitter, and crayon scrawls.
Just as life isn’t clean and simple, neither are Fernandez’s paintings. Fernandez explores his identity as a Mexican, an American, and a Mexican-American/American-Mexican in his paintings. He places images of robust flowers from American wallpaper (a reference to the floral vitality of Mexico) atop urban American skyscrapers. Sometimes he will incorporate images of colonial-era white-wigged Americans into a work with hallucinogenic neon color, reminiscent of an Oaxacan market.
This exhibition is inspired by Dr. Lowery Sims’ exhibition curated for the contemporary museum 516 Arts, titled The US-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility. In a time when national identity is in the forefront of discourse, it is compelling to explore paintings by artists like Fausto Fernandez, who are literally from–and part of–two worlds. Fernandez is part of Mexico as well as the United States. His painting crosses the boundaries of media and meaning. Yet, his paintings are gloriously beautiful, and regardless of whether we identify Fernandez as a Mexican, American, Mexican/American, or American/Mexican, his paintings touch our souls in a way only art can do, and they enhance our civilization.
Please come see them in person, from February 2-24 at Turner Carroll Gallery. A link to the article in the Santa Fe New Mexican is here.
Opening Reception Friday, February 2, 2018, from 5 to 7 pm
[n.b. that this event takes place in Santa Fe]