On The Fence: Ana Teresa Fernández at Gallery Wendi Norris

Ana Teresa Fernández, who was born in Mexico, has since been living and educated in the United States, and has thoroughly explored, in this and many other series, the border between United States and Mexico and all its attendant borders of identity (Mexican/American); gender (strong/vulnerable); class (worker/model); and performance (subject/object).  In Borrando la Frontera, a public performance piece and its subsequent painted documentation, she positions herself at the border of performance and painting while painting over the train tracks which border the United States from Mexico. Incidentally, she also erases the border between comedy and serious political discourse – that she is painting the tracks in full cocktail attire struck me as incredibly funny and also feminist (politically glamorous, if you will). The Arrastre series, which crosses the border from video to photography (with a very painterly eye), is her attempt to document a performance during which she rode a white horse inside sinkhole waters in Mexico. In this, she positions herself on the border of strength and vulnerability. While she wears her cocktail dress and heels astride a strong animal, one gets the impression that they both might drown at any moment. One is reminded also of border crossings, and in particular, Fernandez’ Ablution series, through which she examined and reclaimed the derogatory “wetback” image of Mexicans crossing the border through water.

Foreign Bodies defines that space between the “real” performances and the surreal feeling of the painted, filmed, and photographed documentation, which adds a compelling dimension to these already strong narratives. The exhibition also truly felt complementary to Wendi Norris Gallery and its reputation for Surrealist showings. Further, the gallery has championed artists similar to Fernández, a multi-media artist with a transnational point of view and the confidence to navigate between the subject and object of the gaze.

Ana Teresa Fernández, Foreign Bodies, Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco, through 31 May 2014.

Ana Teresa Fernández, Gallery Wendi Norris

Ana Teresa Fernández, Erasing the Border (Borrando la Frontera), oil on canvas, Foreign Bodies, image courtesy of the artist and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco

Ana Teresa Fernández, Foreign Bodies, Gallery Wendi Norris

Ana Teresa Fernández, Entre #1 (performance documentation at San Diego/Tijuana Border), oil on canvas, Foreign Bodies, image courtesy of the artist and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco

Ana Teresa Fernández, Gallery Wendi Norris

Ana Teresa Fernández, Arrastre 1, direct print to silver Dibond, Foreign Bodies, image courtesy of the artist and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco

Ana Teresa Fernández, Gallery Wendi Norris

Ana Teresa Fernández, Arrastre 5, direct print to silver Dibond, Foreign Bodies, image courtesy of the artist and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco

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  1. May 1, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    […] Ana Teresa Fernández gets a lovely review of her show On the Fence, now downtown at the Gallery Wendi Norris. ”Foreign Bodies defines […]

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