Georgetown University is pleased to present Teresita Fernández: Dark Earth, the reopening exhibition after COVID-19 temporarily closed its art galleries. Critically acclaimed Fernández (American b. 1968, lives Brooklyn) is known for luminous works that poetically evoke the landscape while exposing the violent colonial histories that inform our ideas of place. Fernández says, “landscape is more about what you don’t see than what you do see.” Occupying Georgetown’s Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Art Gallery, this is her first solo exhibition in Washington.
In four panels from her series Dark Earth (2019), Fernández merges the conceptual and the material to challenge conventional ideas of the figure in the landscape. Each panel presents a ghostly scene that reveals the cultural histories of their physical makeup—gold, conquest, violence, agriculture—and the fluctuation of power that surrounds natural resources. Their golden, metallic surfaces prompt each viewer to linger, as their gaze is returned and distorted within the constructed landscape. With these works, Fernández prompts viewers to consider their own role in the eroded physical and psychological spaces produced by centuries of dominant colonialism.
The panoramic horizon of Charred Landscape (America), a site-specific installation, surrounds the Dark Earth panels–smoke rising from its peaks. Here, solid charcoal (made of burned trees) functions simultaneously as a sculptural element, drawing tool, ephemeral marks, and as a physical part of a real landscape. Both the imagery and materials reference the “slash and burn” technique traditionally used by Indigenous peoples to cultivate rotating crops and sustainably fertile terrain.
“After our long closure, we are excited to relaunch the de la Cruz Gallery with such an innovative and influential artist. With shimmering surfaces, mysterious imagery and intriguing textures, Fernández lures viewers into a critical conversation that crosses disciplines, geographies, and time periods. A liberal arts institution with a long-term commitment to social justice, Georgetown University is the perfect place to better acquaint diverse audiences with one of the most compelling artists working today,” says Founding Director/Chief Curator of the Georgetown University Art Galleries, Al Miner.
Teresita Fernández: Dark Earth is now open to the public, visitor preregistration is required. Fernández will launch a new panel discussion series on November 11th at 6pm, Be Seen AND Heard: Conversations with American Women Artists. This program will have limited capacity and require event preregistration, to sign up and for additional program details visit the Georgetown University Art Galleries’ website. The exhibition will remain on view through December 12, 2021.
View more information on the de la Cruz Gallery website.