Today we’d like to introduce you to Patricia Fernández.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I came to California from Spain when I was 14 years old with my family. I grew up traveling a lot with my family, wherever my father’s work took us. After we left the US, I stayed here to study painting at UCLA and then continue on to receive a MFA from CalArts. Although I miss living in new cities and other countries, it has been great to make LA my home. I never thought I would stay in one place for so long. I have lived and worked in Chinatown for over ten years now.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My journey has been very fortuitous. When I graduated from Cal Arts I received a Joan Mitchell grant that encouraged me to build upon my practice as an artist and allowed me to continue working in the studio full time. I have received support from the city of Los Angeles through cultural grants and have been lucky to have exhibited my work locally as well as internationally throughout my career. Today I am working with Commonwealth and Council Gallery in Koreatown.
Along the way, I have received several awards including a California Community Foundation Fellowship, a Lincoln City Fellowship, a Pollock Krasner Grant, a France Los Angeles Exchange Grant, and a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant. This isn’t to say I haven’t had struggles, and of course being an artist is challenging but solving problems is part of the journey. I consider getting to do what I love everyday is a gift.
Please tell us more about your art.
I am an artist whose practice emerges from a research aspect out in the field; I am interested in history, texture and time contained within landscape. My work combines painting, sculpture, and installations. Hand-carving, rewriting, painting are all labor-intensive actions that are inherent to my practice.
Eight years ago, I began a project titled box (a proposition for ten years), a time-based sculpture that expands for ten years. This project is exhibited annually at Commonwealth and Council Gallery, where one can experience the iterations of this piece, the additions and transformations that have taken place. Within this work, you can see my grandfather’s carving style, which I copy as an active archival pursuit. This interconnected practice where a pervasive “x” motif repeats is a transmission of memory and history between two people spanning different generations and different worlds. As box (a proposition for ten years) approaches its end, I am particularly excited to be able to visually trace the transformation of this singular piece and reflect upon how it has shaped my relationships and my practice as a whole. This edition of the box materialized from a conversation in 2012 with the founder of Commonwealth and Council, Young Chung.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Both my focus and my ability to imagine new possibilities have been very important to my work.
Images courtesy of the artist, Commonwealth and Council. Photo credits to Ian James, and Ruben Diaz