Teresita Fernández. Fire (America) 5, 2017. Glazed ceramic. 96 x 192 x 1 1/4 inches. Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, museum purchase with funds provided by Jorge M. Pérez  

Teresita Fernández is widely recognized for her studies of perception and impressive public sculptures inspired by natural landscapes. In her work, she uses industrial materials like aluminum, acrylic, plastic, and glass to reference diverse cultural histories and refers to fire, water, and air to create visual metaphors that explore the boundaries between nature and artifice. Her experiential, large-scale installations are characterized by optical illusions and minimal gestures. Through this conceptual approach, Fernández is interested in exploring specific issues in contemporary culture as they relate to the phenomena of the natural world.  

In Fire (America) 5 (2017), Fernández draws inspiration from the polarized political and social climate of the United States. A large and highly detailed mosaic, this work is composed of several ceramic glazed tiles that illustrate rolling fire flames within an obscured landscape. Here, Fernández uses an image of fire to allude to its cultural connotations as a symbol of transformation, passion, and will. Fire is both subject and process in Fernández’s work, as glazed ceramic is produced through one or several firing processes. Fernández’s fiery landscape suggests that the political and social divisions in our society can be seen as part of a natural process of intense transformation.