international painting annual 1 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Ana Teresa Fernandez
San Francisco, California

San Francisco Art Institute


pages 85-86


My work consists of paintings, which derive from a postmodern strategy of staged, photo-documented performances. My paintings, depicting women engaged in everyday domestic chores, confront labor and power. Of what use is a woman's body? As a young girl growing up in Mexico, I learned at an early age about the double standard imposed on women and their sexuality.  In this body of work were of women dressed in Tango attire, performing cleaning activities or domestic chores in private and public spaces. As in Tango, the women duel with their partner––the environment.  I attempt to use the body as a symbolic and measuring device for exploration that pushes and pulls the space to its limits, activating it until one feels the weight of the space pushing back. This dance references the battle between media and predetermined gender notions and expectations, versus instinctual desires and self-empowerment.

My work investigates how women identify their strengths and sensuality in performing labor in which there is no visible economic or social value, and which is frequently considered "dirty."  I also subvert the typical overtly folkloric representations of Mexican women in paintings by changing my protagonist's uniform to the quintessential little black dress. Wearing this symbol of American prosperity and femininity, the protagonist tangos through this intangible dilemma with her performances at the San Diego/Tijuana Border -- a place I myself had to cross to study and live in the US.  In these performances, I portrayed this multiplication of self and the Sisyphean task of cleaning the environment to accentuate the idea of disposable labor resources.  Moreover, the black dress is transformed into a funerary symbol of luto, the Mexican tradition of wearing black for a year after a death.

In addition to highlighting ongoing social political conflicts, the works also underscore the intersection of everyday tasks and fantasy from both sides of the political/gender divide, illuminating the psychological walls that confine and divide genders in a domestic space.


born: 1981, Tampico, Mexico


San Francisco Art Institute, MFA, 2006
San Francisco Art Institute, BFA, 2004

selected awards/honors

Creative Work Fund, San Francisco Arts Foundation, 2009
Greatmore Studios Residency, South Africa, 2009
National Association of Latinos Art and Culture, 2008
Tournesol Award, Headlands Center for the Arts, 2007

selected publications

New American Paintings 2007, Open Studios Press. Boston, Mass.
Images of America, San Francisco's Mission District, Bernadette C Hooper, Arcadia Pub. 2006

selected solo or two-person exhibits

Ablution, Electric Works Gallery, San Francisco, California, 2010
Ecdisis, Galeria de la Raza, San Francisco, California, 2008
Telarañatela, Luggage Store Gallery, San Francisco, California, 2008
Nanmitanan, Jakmel Art Center, Haiti, 2006

selected group shows

VIVO, Oakland Contemporary Museum of Art, Oakland, California, 2010
Off the Record, Edge Zones Art Center, Miami, Florida, 2010
TIjuana Bienal, Centro Cultural Tijuana, Tijuana,Mexico, 2010
Bay Area Now 5, San Francisco, California, 2008

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