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TROPICO CAMUFLADO

Works by Renata Fernandez ATC Series, Drawings 2012 - 2015


TROPICO CAMUFLADO Works by Renata Fernandez ATC Series, Drawings 2012 - 2015

"...(the drawings) compound the poetic sense that something lies behind what we are seeing, some thing intangible and distinctly unfriendly. Yet on the surface all is well. We are in the tropics, the plants and leaves are beautiful, we are in a kind of paradise - what can be wrong? It is not my place as a long term friend and admirer of Renata’s work, to suggest to you what may be lurking there. This is how the best Art often functions, it demands that you the audience do some of the work. It evokes things that seem like things you already knew, but did not quite find the phrase or image for Fernandez's work in all its forms as objects, paintings and drawings has a unity and conviction. It implications and meanings can be applied to a specific situation, or can be taken universally. That’s just one of it’s many strengths." Colin Smith, Cadaques 2013. Writer and editor Turps Banana Magazine. Painter, Lecturer. MA (RCA)

"I will tell you, and I don't have to but I will: your work is the best shit I have seen in this country for many, many years. And I don't tell this to anybody, so there you have" Regulo Perez, painter and political caricaturist, doyen of Venezuelan art scene, during the opening of TROPICO CAMUFLADO, October 13th 2013, Museo Alejandro Otero.

Photographs credits:Front cover, Efrat Einey, March 2013. Back cover, Renata Fernandez, January 2014


Renata Fernandez was born in Caracas, Venezuela from Spanish parents who were running away from Franco's Spain. From an early age, Fernandez showed a great natural ability and keen interest in art. At 19 years old, Fernandez started to study in the newly

BIOGRAPHY

created Instituto Universitario de Estudios Superiores Armando Reveron (IUESAPAR), becoming part of its very first elite group of selected alumni. The Reveron Institute 5-year prospectus had a holistic approach towards art education. Students, although very much in charge of their own progress, were obliged to study a different art discipline every year on top of their chosen speciality. Fernandez flourished in this art school, assuring that it was an exceptional educational experience. By then, she was also almost a graduate in Social Sciences and Media Studies at Universidad Catolica Andres Bello. Alongside her university formative years, Fernandez also dabbled in drama, set design and contemporary dance, working professionally for several years in theatre as an actor, set designer and voice over artist.

Renata Fernandez. Photograph by Carlos E. Izsak, 2013

Mural "The Day of the Triffids", Museo Alejandro Otero, Caracas, Venezuela. Work by Fernandez and Manuel Sanmartin, curator and producer of her solo show, "Tropico Camuflado", October 2013 - February 2014. Photograph by ŠJose Reinaldo Guedez @reinaldoguedez 2013 2


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"Tropico Camuflado", Museo Alejandro Otero, Room 6. Composite image by Renata Fernandez, 2013

Fernandez left Venezuela soon after graduating from art

and her work has been promoted several times in the

school in 1996 and went to live in Europe. During this process of becoming an immigrant, the artist enabled her work to

reputable online platform Saatchi Art (Renata Fernandez). Fernandez has been selected to be represented by the

adapt to the ever changing circumstances, as much as she had to do herself, allowing for technical, conceptual and material flexibility. She settled in London where she established her studio in 2003.

reputable Singulart.com gallery, based in Paris and has been profiled for ARTEFACTO magazine in 2014 (Venezuela, Colombia, Miami).

Fernandez has recently show her work in a solo exhibition in the Museo Alejandro Otero, Caracas, Venezuela (Oct 2013 – Feb 2014), titled TROPICO CAMUFLADO. She works and lives in London, where exhibits her work regularly, for instance HER NATURE (2017) a women's group show at Maddox Arts’, Mayfair and the Lynn Painter Stainers Prize (2016) at the Mall Galleries. Fernandez has also had several solo shows in the UK, Spain, Belgium and France in the last few years. She likes to make a point of showing her art in unusual spaces such as a barn in a chateau in Belgium’s countryside, a wine cellar in France, a hotel room by Regent’s Park or an empty shop front in Belgravia. At the end of 2017 a 50 meters long mural will be erected on a hoarding in Fulham riverside, London, a special work commissioned by the Tideway Tunnel and developed in partnership with a local school. Her work is in several private collections in Venezuela, Spain, USA, UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Taiwan. Fernandez has been featured in Sky landscape Artist of the Year (2016)

"Tropico Camuflado", Museo Alejandro Otero, Caracas, Venezuela. Photograph ©Nelson Gonzalez Leal, 2014.

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TROPICO CAMUFLADO. ATC SERIES. DRAWINGS 2012 - 2015 Over the last hundred years or more, during the ‘Modern’ period in Art, there have been many codes, conflagrations,

highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something too strange to believe”.

tropes and manifests which we are required to be familiar with before we can unlock the meaning of a large degree

As in Kafka a strong foundation of normality is required as counterpoint to the strangeness.

of what has been made. This is probably one of the main reasons that many consider Modern Art elitist and over

Fernandez work to some extent complies, yet differs from

self-referential. I suspect that is also exacerbated by much contemporary art theory, which relies over heavily on

this in that it is not allegorical but metaphorical. She is not telling us stories. The concept of ‘Camouflage’- what it is,

quoting and citing other theory at great length, that it masks the often extremely minimal contribution which is being made.

why it exists, and what is it mainly used for, are explored and exploited in a challenging way. It is an extended metaphor, which she uses repeatedly. Like any type of military manifestation it can be used both defensively and aggressively. It is, at its core a form of lying, of convincing you that something which is there, is not there. It has many manifestations in our lives, Governments use it politically for example to hide some unpleasant or distasteful manifestation of idiocy, mendacity or corruption behind a screen of celebrity gossip or the latest royal wedding.

One the most innocent victims of this game playing, is the lack of regard or even derision with which the idea of ‘Realism’ is frequently held. The idea of something simply ‘existing’ in an apparently mundane way is misunderstood by the unimaginative as being boring and prosaic. Any decent Philosopher or Physicist come to that, will tell you that appearances, the manifestation of this so-called ‘reality’ are all we have to go on and it is through redefining and unlocking it’s secrets that we will ever uncover anything profound. I suggest this is very much the case with Renata Fernandez, the apparent realism, that which you are allowed to see exists primarily to obscure the deeper truth. Or paradoxically, meaning which can be suggested or revealed, by what you are not permitted to see.In Western Europe the most commonly held preconception of the body of culture which emerges from South America is that it is likely to be related, particularly in literature, to magic realism. This can be loosely described as being an essentially narrative process, which evokes reality but includes unnatural or fantastic elements. Matthew Strecher defines magic realism as "what happens when a

The recent large graphic works are a case in point. At first glance these heavily and intricately worked pieces seem straightforward. They are very beautiful and made with exacting and concentrated craftsmanship in Fernandez’s cramped London Studio. They differ from the photography they are derived from in that the drama created by the sole use of blacks whites and greys, and the intense evidence of the hand made process all add to a kind of tension, a kind of unease … (the drawings) compound the poetic sense that something lies behind what we are seeing, some thing intangible and distinctly unfriendly. Yet on the surface all is well. We are in the tropics, the plants and leaves are beautiful, we are in a kind of paradise what can be wrong?.


ATC No 6 and 7 respectively, in progress at Fernandez's studio in Peckham. Image ©Efrat Einey 2013

It is not my place as a long term friend and admirer of Renata’s work, to suggest to you what may be lurking there. This is how the best Art often functions, it demands that you the audience do some of the work. It evokes things that seem like things you already knew, but did not quite find the phrase or image for. Fernandez’s work in all its forms as objects, paintings and drawings has a unity and conviction. It implications and meanings can be applied to a specific situation, or can be taken universally. That’s just one of it’s many strengths. Colin Smith, Cadaques 2013 Painter. M.A.( RCA). Harness Fellow to Yale University . Assistant Editor and Writer Turps Banana Magazine. Lecturer Loughborough University. Works and lives between Spain and the UK

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ATC SERIES This series comprises drawings that share a technique, subject matter and dimensions. Made with the humblest of techniques -

size of the subject also had a role determining the scale of the drawings. These plants belong to an urban jungle: planted by

charcoal on paper- each large format drawing measures 210 x 132 cm when framed. The format as such came to be when

someone, they appear to be in constant rebellion, threatening to cover it all. These drawings could create in the viewer a tension

designing the solo show TROPICO CAMUFLADO for the Museo Alejandro Otero (MAO), Caracas, Venezuela. Room 6 is a fan-

with their apparent virtuosity and the dimension and monstrosity of the subject matter. They sometimes include an object that

shape space, and the long and curved interior window that offers views to the space bellow, has fourteen panels of glass,

reminds us their scale and their setting, i.e., a bench or chair, an architectural feature. Their composition at times is awkward and

each measuring 193 x 117cm. That interior window happens to be the first view the public has when entering the room. When

full on, each drawing has been a difficult exercise on composition, a constant risk of failure.

visiting the room for the first time, two year previously to my show, I decided to crate a series of large format charcoal drawings that would be placed on the window. I was working at the time drawing in charcoal on large scale, with made-up landscapes with camouflaged soldiers. As I started the very first drawing of the series, not soldiers appeared. I let go and proceed to use a photographic archive that I started when I traveled to Venezuela. This archive of urban jungle and biodiversity I so much missed, was initiated almost by accident. Instead I was possessed by the need to understand the engineering and growing cycle of the monster-like flora I grew up with. As time passed, I guess the plants in their menacing beauty became a metaphor for the camouflaged that were not longer present. The photographic archive grew out images taken on the gardens of the Altamira Tennis Club (ATC) in Caracas, Venezuela, while visiting the club with my family. Unable to join them on the swimming pool due to my sensitive skin, I was left on my own. I started to register the tropical flora around, thinking that I would probably use them as reference in my camouflage paintings (2008-2011). These photos were descriptive and imperfect - I am not a photographer, yet they kick-started a whole new body of work. The panels of Room 6 at MAO determined the format but the

A note about the chosen technique: charcoal. I realized, by accident, as it happened, that in order to make the viewer question the work and the subject matter, it was necessary to create distance. This urban nature that serves as reference is a green hotchpotch where there is far too much uniformity in lights and shadows. In order to allow others to observe what I saw, I had to reconstruct the visual jumble and presented it back to the viewer, making something apparently extraordinary of what is conspicuous in tropical parks and private gardens. I am all too aware of the fact that these drawings came to be because of me living in London. Its grey, almost white skies during Autumn and Winter, the naked trees, inky or charcoal traces over the pale sky, inspired the very first large format drawings. As I moved along through the city, towards the west at the end of the afternoon, trapped in traffic or just cycling gently on the embankment, I came across these trees that

were like cries to heaven, black traces over a white background. I saw drawings, marks, expressive gestures. I would have never come to draw like this if I stayed in my country. would had never learned to see, to observe as much. My tropical birthplace does not offer grey – white skies, like paper, or compendia off naked trees with inky branches revealing their intricate engineering.


To those eager to know, I like to tell them that I had never had a particular interest in the landscape as such. Flora? It never occurred it had something for me. I arrived to the tropical flora through the landscape in the soldiers’ clothes. Through painting camouflage, this very painterly concept in itself, I went from the landscape on the soldiers' clothes, to paint the landscape they hide into. Eventually the soldiers disappeared, only implying their presence through the menacing beauty of the tropical jungle. These drawings are very attractive, their presence unavoidable. They could also be dark and broody. They present a dichotomy and a metaphor. All is good, and so it seems, with this exotic and exuberant flora. Yet these drawings appear also threatening. The effect on some viewers is rather revealing: “Are there any faces hiding there, any people, among the foliage?".

Renata Fernandez. London. January 2014 ATC series drawing, Copeland Gallery, London. December 2013. Photograph by R. Fernandez

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(15) 07-07-2013, 2013. Charcoal on paper. 193 x 117 cm, unframed

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(20) 20 - 01 - 2014. 2014. Charcoal on paper. 210 x 132 cm, framed. Private collection, NY


(14) 12 - 07 - 2013. 2013. Charcoal on paper.193 x 117 cm, unframed

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(7) 13 - 04 - 2013. 2013. Charcoal on paper. 210 x 132 cm, framed. Private collection, Venezuela

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(13) 15 - 06 - 2013. 2013. Charcoal on paper. 210 x 132 cm, framed. Private collection, Rio de Janeiro

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(10) 30 - 05 - 2013. 2013. Charcoal on paper. 210 x 132 cm, framed. Private collection, NY

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(23) 01 - 07 - 2014. 2014. Charcoal on paper. 210 x 132 cm, framed. Private collection, Madrid


(22) 24 - 03 - 2014. 2014. Charcoal on paper. 210 x 132 cm, framed. Private collection, Madrid.

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(21) 13 - 02 - 2014. 2014. Charcoal on paper. 193 x 117 cm, unframed

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(17) 11 - 11 - 2013. 2013. Charcoal on paper. 193 x 117 cm, unframed

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(4) 25 - 02 - 2013. 2013. Charcoal on paper. 193 x 117 cm, unframed

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(5) 25 - 02 - 2013. 2013. Charcoal on paper. 193 x 117 cm, unframed

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(11) 06 - 06 - 2013. 2013. Charcoal on paper. 193 x 117 cm, unframed

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(12) 15 - 06 - 2013. 2013. Charcoal on paper. 210 x 132 cm, framed. Private collection, Miami

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(9) 30 - 04 - 2013. 2013. Charcoal on paper. 193 x 117 cm, unframed

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(16) 29 - 07 - 2013. 2013. Charcoal on paper. 193 x 117 cm, unframed

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(19) 10 - 12 - 2013. 2013. Charcoal on paper. 210 x 132 cm, framed. Private collection, London

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(8) 15 - 04 - 2013. 2013. Charcoal on paper. 193 x 117 cm, unframed

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PRESS

MAGAZINE ARTEFACTO. Caracas. Venezuela. December 2013 Author Nelida Requiz. Photographs Enrique Araujo. pages 68 - 69


EL UNIVERSAL. ARTE Y ENTRETENIMIENTO. 2 - 11 10 / 10 / 2013. Author: Jessica Moron. Caracas. Venezuela.


ULTIMAS NOTICIAS. CHEVERE. p. 34 15 / 09 / 2013. Author: CarlaTofano. Caracas. Venezuela.


EL NACIONAL. AGENDA ARTES VISUALES 15 / 10 / 2013. Caracas. Venezuela.


CURRICULUM VITAE Fine Arts. Instituto Universitario de Estudios Superiores de Artes Plásticas Armando Reverón. (IUESAPAR) Caracas, Venezuela. [1991-1996] Social Sciences and Media Studies. Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAB). Caracas, Venezuela. [1988-1993] Drama, Set Design. AGO Teatro. Caracas, Venezuela. [1988-1995] Works and lives in London SOLO SHOWS

[2013-14] "Tropico Camuflado" Museum Alejandro Otero. Caracas. Venezuela. October 2013- February 2014 [2009] Family Portraits. Convent Sant Agusti. Barcelona. Spain [2004] High Street Tiger Hunting. Tricycle Gallery, London. Uk [2003] Everyday Epic. 198 Gallery, London. UK [2001] The Battle of the Poppy. Stamford Art Gallery, East Anglia. UK RESIDENCY [2016-17] Carnwarth Road Hoarding Commission (Hammersmith). TIDEWAY BAZALGUETTE TUNNEL LTD [2015] Artist in Residence (AIR), National Open Art Competition 2015. Upper Gulbenkian Gallery, Royal college of Art, London. GROUP SHOWS, selection [2017] HER NATURE Maddox Arts Mayfair, London. June-September AAF Battersea/Hampstead with Rebecca Hossack Gallery [2016] SKY Landscape Artist of the Year 2016, shortlisted, Heat 2. Oriel Davies Open. Oriel Davies Gallery. Newtown. Powis. Wales Lynn Painter Stainers Prize. Mall Galleries. Guilford Art gallery [2014] Elements of Craft. Mint. London Design Festival, September. London [2012] Cluster II, curated by Manuel Sanmartin. SW1 Gallery, London, UK.

[2011] Exposition de sculptures à Hanzinelle, Bruselas. May - june. Organized by the collectors Jacques et Dominique HAYEZ Fiztrovia Noir Collective, Intervention Art Trail, Fitzrovia London W1. London March – April 2011. www.fitzrovianoir.com NOTIONS OF DRAWING. Curator, organizer, participating artist. 17 artists exploring the possibilities of drawing London. UK [2005] RUTHLESS-PECKHAM 1. Organizer, participating artist . London. UK [2003] 9th East England Contemporary Art Auction. Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham. UK [2002] Sporting' Art. North Light Gallery. Yorkshire. UK 8th East England Contemporary Art Auction. Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham. UK [2001] Atkinson Gallery Summer Exhibition. Millfield School, Somerset. UK [1997] IX Bienal Internacional de Vila Nova de Cerveira. Portugal. [1996] La Mirada. Museo Jacobo Borges de Caracas. Venezuela. Del Oeste. Museo Jacobo Borges de Caracas. Venezuela AWARDS [2001] 2nd Award Atkinson Gallery Summer Exhibition. Millfield School. [1994-96] Scholarship, Asociación Venezolano Americano de la Amistad (AVAA). Venezuela [1993] Orden José Félix Rivas, Third Class, Given by the Venezuelan government, for artistic accomplishments as an emerging Venezuelan artist COLLECTIONS Private collections in the Belgium, UK, USA, Spain, France, Germany, Venezuela and Taiwan.


RENATA FERNANDEZ www.renatafernandez.com Instagram @renatafernandez_art Facebook @renatafernandezstudio Twitter @Lachallota Pinterest @RFernandezArt Studio 17-19 Hythe Road Unit 9 ACAVA Studios NW10 6RT London UK By appointment only


TROPICO CAMUFLADO EDICION 2017  

Catalogue of the main body of work by artist Renata Fernandez for TROPICO CAMUFLADO, solo art show in Museo Alejandro Otero 2013-2014. The m...

TROPICO CAMUFLADO EDICION 2017  

Catalogue of the main body of work by artist Renata Fernandez for TROPICO CAMUFLADO, solo art show in Museo Alejandro Otero 2013-2014. The m...

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