contemporary artist / teresita fernandez

while we lived in washington dc i had the opportunity to attend lots of contemporary artist's lectures at the american art museum. i loved hearing about the artists views and what drove them to make art. for some it was all visual, for others it was much more conceptual. in the fall, i got to see teresita fernandez and i totally fell in love with her vision of art. i wrote up this post a little bit after for the national museum of women in the arts blog, and am just getting around to sharing it here. i hope you are inspired by her amazing works!

What do you get when you combine Gericault’s romantic Raft of the Medusa, Hokusai’s woodblock prints, and Rothko’s saturated colorfields? You are probably not thinking of a pedestrian walkway bridge in Seattle. However, Teresita Fernandez combined these influences and created an ethereal and majestic walkway, seemingly transporting its visitors to a heavenly realm.


Teresita Fernandez is a contemporary artist from Miami, who considers her works to be ‘landscape sculptures’, a term which she feels is underused, and a style understudied. She differentiates her style from ‘land art’, which is a more well known type of art that actually uses land as art, rather than bringing it into a museum or artistic space. Many of her sculptures incorporate mixed media materials, including glass, thread, mirrors, graphite etc.


A major theme in her works is the perception of movement that our minds create when we combine multiple images in a rapidly syncopated fashion. She aims to create sculptures that are experiential and immersive. Rather than just viewing, Fernandez wants her audience to ambulate and read the works, constructing new images and relations. Most of her works tend to evolve depending on times of day, place of viewing, and the ways in which one moves around the work.


Fernandez is the youngest artist to be commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum for Olympic Sculpture Park, and was asked to create the walkway leading into the park. In Seattle Cloud Cover she combined hundreds of images of colorful clouds, placed them between glass and covered the walkway. The images are perforated with little holes giving tiny views of Seattle’s skyline in the distance.  She wanted the view of Seattle to seem like it was moving slowly through a projector.

Much like our own Chakaia Booker New York Avenue sculptures, the piece changes as one moves around it, no one view is ever the same. Booker and Fernandez alike aim to incorporate the setting into the experience of their artwork. Each is also faced with the daunting task of finding materials that will fit their vision. While Booker works with tires and must strategically plan our each sculpture before it is put together, Fernandez had to stitch thousands of images of clouds together and create her sensorial experience. It is interesting to see these two women being commissioned for large public sculptures, which would have never been possible years ago.

fashion / new year's eve inspired by mickalene thomas

i have thought about doing outfits inspired by artworks for a long time, i just never found the right inspiration/concept. then, one day as i was walking around the national museum of women in the arts (for my internship), i saw it. i had seen lots of mickalene thomas works, but this one was perfect. it had recently been hung and i was so happy to see it in person.

mickalene thomas (b.1971) is an african-american female artist who reembodies her own stereotypes. she takes inspiration from andy warhol's repetitive prints: originally this work was one in a series of forty, a-e-i-o-u and sometimes y (2009), that was displayed on a single wall. rather than silkscreen or paint, thomas uses rhinestones as her medium, and somehow creates so much depth and variation even when using just black. many of her works are multicolored and patterned, but i love the simple two-tone coloration of this work.

for this new year's eve outfit, i tried to use a simple palette of hot pink and black rhinestones (sequins are close enough right?). i got that velvet brand dress at the rack at the beginning of the year for no reason other than it was the best thing i have ever seen. we paired it with some pink leggings (that weren't quite the right color, but we were working with what we had). the shoes were old bcbg ones with the best wooden heel and patent leather. we had to add even more sparkle with the rhinestone bracelet. we used my favorite nars lipstick in 'schiap' with liquid eyeliner and all the other normal make-up. 

ps. i'm so happy to have my model back! i love being able to style and photograph and not worry about modeling!

contemporary artist / marina abramovic

i saw this video awhile ago and haven't been able to get it off my mind. marina abramovic was a popular performance artist in the 70's an 80's. In 2010 there was a retrospective of her works at the museum of modern art. during the show, abramovic performed a piece wherein she sat in a chair for over 7 hours a day 5 days a week and looked into her viewers eyes. audience members were able to interact with the artist on a very personal level through intense eye contact. during the show, a man that she used to know/love/work with visited her after not seeing her for many years. her reaction is marvelous.

read more about her here.

contemporary artist / nikki lee on nmwa's blog

for the first time ever my writing was featured on a different blog! i am so delighted! i mean, it is the blog at the museum where i do my internship, so it may not be as exciting, but still. at the national museum for women in the arts we focus on women (obviously) and how to increase their visibility in the art world. i was working on writing some self-tour guides, and one of the artists i researched was nikki lee. i had never heard of her before, but her work is fascinating. here is the post that was featured on nmwa's blog

Part (14), Nikki S. Lee, 2002

Part (14), Nikki S. Lee, 2002

Fluid Identities: The "Parts" and "Projects" of Nikki Lee

The old cliché “a picture is worth a thousand words” may actually be true of  photographs by Nikki S. Lee in NMWA’s collection. In her series “Parts,” Lee curates scenes of herself with a significant other showing intimate dynamics and details of a relationship, then physically cuts her partner out of each printed photograph.

This mysterious process imbues meaning and surprise: Lee often created varied, in-depth narratives around her scenes, from routine day-to-day activities to cheerful tourist-style snapshots, to a woman on her wedding day. Her cuts force viewers to focus on the emotions—anger, heartbreak, a wish to forget—with which someone might cut a formerly beloved person out of a photo.

In an interview, Lee said, “The purpose of the cut is to make people curious about the missing person and to think how his identity has affected the woman who is left behind. It forces people to examine the relationship itself, even if it is only part of the story.”

the seniors project (26), nikki s. lee, 1999

the seniors project (26), nikki s. lee, 1999

The “Projects” series is less about artistic beauty, and more about exploring the many facets of oneself. Lee has said that each of the roles she played during this project made up a piece of her. She examines the ways that a person can be made up of many disparate identities and personality traits, and she also examines the way that being surrounded by different groups of people who share those traits can completely change how you are perceived by others.This series is not Lee’s first major photographic undertaking. For her “Projects” series, Lee insinuated herself into subcultural groups, working for two to three months to be accepted in each social group. These groups included seniors, Hispanics, swingers, yuppies, lesbians, and others. For each project, Lee changed what she wore, where she shopped, and how she presented herself. After she had spent time with them, she would ask a friend or passerby snap a picture of the group. These photographs—simultaneously staged and casual—are less than professional, even including the date and timestamp from the small digital cameras used to take them.

Each of Lee’s series analyzes the deeper meanings of outward identities. She focuses on how identities can be changed by who we surround ourselves with, what we wear, and how we act. While “Parts” spotlights the ways the relationships affect our lives, “Projects” demonstrates the fluidity of identity that people use to define others as well as themselves.