Texas Contemporary Artists Series:
Ana Fernandez paints a portrait of San Antonio neighborhoods
SAN ANTONIO – Ana Fernandez tells a story of San Antonio, but not through its people or history. She has captured a unique perspective on her adoptive home by analyzing the nuances of culture and identity presented curb-side on any street in town. For the latest installment of the Texas Contemporary Artists series, Fernandez will display eight portraits of San Antonio homes at the Institute of Texan Cultures, Sept. 10 through Jan. 20.
Fernandez came to San Antonio in 2009. She holds degrees in fine art from the Art Institute of Chicago and UCLA. While living in Chicago and Los Angeles, Fernandez painted several landscapes, but felt detached from the product, having no roots in the community. By comparison, San Antonio she understands.
Growing up in Corpus Christi, Fernandez’s mother would challenge her to paint seascapes. She kept a notebook as a companion and drew constantly, from what she saw on television, to airbrush-painted custom vans with unique scenes on their sides. Today, she finds art in San Antonio neighborhoods and presents portraits of homes that hint at the personality of those living there.
"The inside of the house starts to come out to the outside, like the soul of the house," she said. Christmas lights on an eve, cars in the driveway, statues and wrought iron gates, amalgamated with the life experiences of a home’s residents, give each place a personality.
According to her statement for the exhibit, Fernandez draws on inspirations such as "magic, true crime, paranormal activity, love, murder, mythology, witchcraft and superstition" to add character to her work. She describes her style as "naturalistic and realistic with elements of the fantastic and supernatural."
Fernandez captures a weighty stillness with overcast skies and barren branches. Her use of light and shadow masks fragments of personality, such as an old car rusting in a driveway or a neighboring home like a lingering presence only a few feet away.
"The work of Ana Fernandez explores the epic histories buried in every neighborhood," said exhibit curator Arturo Infante Almeida. "Her most recent work unearths the stories found in the joyous bits and mundane pieces of life in San Antonio."
The Texas Contemporary Artists Series exhibitions showcase the talents of some of Texas’ premier artists. This series focuses on the work of contemporary artists who call Texas home. Common to all of their work is the bold vision and unbridled exuberance that is the quintessence of Texan culture. The Texas Contemporary Artists Series is curated by Arturo Infante Almeida, curator for the UTSA art collection.
The Institute of Texan Cultures is located on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Regular hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults (ages 12-64); $7 for seniors (ages 65+); $6 for children (ages 3-11); free with membership, UTSA or Alamo Colleges identification. For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit TexanCultures.com.