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Sandra C. Fernández Teaching by Example by CATHERINE ZINSER

As an assistant professor at the University of

Texas at Austin, Sandra C. Fernández seizes the opportunity to instill a love of traditional printmaking and book arts into the next generation of artists. Popular culture is hardwired for immediate results; it expects and demands an uninterrupted flow of new gadgets and devices, each designed to make life more streamlined. With one, quick swipe, a deluge of information is literally at your fingertips. In a good wi-fi zone, Shakespeare, Twain, and Austen materialize with a five second download. But for some, half of the experience of immersing oneself in a story is thumbing the pages and marking the margins. Oh, and the smell! That musty aroma that wafts through the heavy, wooden doors of a library is a mixture of paper, wood, leather and dust. What it really is, though, is the smell of ideas, imagination, history, religion, politics and culture; and bibliophiles savor it. Fernández was bred to love books. In Ecuador, her grandfather purchased and resold libraries and amassed a large collection of 16th-through 18th-century tomes. She studied Literature and Sociology in her early college years, and helped her grandfather in her free time. “The tactility of books, the smell of them, it was part of my upbringing.” An introduction into printmaking and book arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison offered Fernández the opportunity to fuse a love of paper and the printed word with her newly discovered craft.

La Torera, 2011, etching and chine collé, 13 x 11 in. (left) Peso Pluma, 2012, etching, 25.5 x 19.25 in.

Text plays a central role in her artwork—appearing in script, elegantly scrolled across the print, or collaged onto the sheet. Fernández incorporates pages from a damaged 18th-century book using a technique called chine collé—a process that adheres a thin sheet of paper to the print when put through the press. “The text is there for an aesthetic element. I use the paper to enhance the work, to give it color and depth, but interestingly enough the subject ties up nicely with each piece.” The rows of text combine with several different etching techniques yielding beautifully subtle textures. Though tonal, her prints are largely linear. Even in her three-dimensional aether

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aether issue three- fall/winter 2012  

aether is a semi-annual e-magazine that aims to engage collectors, artists, and galleries in conversation about the visual arts in our commu...

aether issue three- fall/winter 2012  

aether is a semi-annual e-magazine that aims to engage collectors, artists, and galleries in conversation about the visual arts in our commu...

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