The Grunwald Gallery at Indiana University is pleased to present Of Bodies and Borders, an exhibition of paintings, drawings and video by artist Ana Teresa Fernández (b. 1981, Tampico, Mexico). The exhibit, organized by Gallery Wendi Norris and previously shown in Miami, will open on January 11 and continue through March 2, 2019. The artist will be present the week of February 6 and will be engaged in gallery talks, student critiques and will present a public lecture on Friday, February 8. An exhibition catalogue Of Bodies and Borders, will be published by the Grunwald Gallery featuring an essay by María Elena Ortiz, Associate Curator at the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Ana Teresa Fernández’s visit to the Indiana University campus is part of Mexico Remixed: A Global Arts and Humanities Festival. The global festival is sponsored by Indiana University Bloomington’s Arts & Humanities Council.

Since 2014, close to 120,000 migrants and refugees have crossed the Central Mediterranean departing from Libya, Tunisia or Egypt on the route known as the “deadliest border in the world”. To date, according to the New York Times, 13,000 migrants have been recorded as killed or missing on this border. Once saturating the North American news, this crisis has been distilled to the periphery of our awareness. Ana Teresa Fernández aims to refocus attention on the plight of the thousands of migrants through this body of work.

This five-year project was filmed in various locations off the island of Poros, Greece. All of the works in the exhibition stem from Fernández’s performance in the depths of the ocean. In the video, “Drawn Below”, she dons her signature little black dress and heels, weighted down with 13-pound weights. While submerged, she wrestles with a bed sheet for hours, exemplifying an enduring physical and psychological performance.

Her large-scale documentary oil paintings illustrate her suspended underwater: swimming, floating, and plummeting into a dark, eerie abyss. The meticulous layering of color and brushwork further emphasize the complexity and tension between water, cloth, and the artist’s body. In the series of documentary drawings titled “Gauging Gravity”, Fernández’s identity is eventually erased, only recognized by bodily fragments inside a void. This new work observes what exists within liminal spaces, seeking what is lost in the margins, between light and shadow, positive and negative space, heavy and buoyant, seen and unseen. Fernández seeks to champion the invisible, unrecognized, undervalued, and in danger of sinking into oblivion.

For Mexican-born, San Francisco-based artist Ana Teresa Fernández, performance is a primary research tool in her meticulous multimedia practice. Through her work, the artist illuminates psychological, physical, and socio-political barriers that define gender, race, and class in Western society. Fernandez’ work also examines political crises relating to immigration policies and its effects on marginalized populations.

Fernández has exhibited at the Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO, the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV, Arizona State University Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ, the Grunwald Gallery at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, Humboldt State University, Eureka, CA; the Tijuana Biennial, Tijuana, Mexico; Snite Museum at Notre Dame University, Notre Dame, IN; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA and The Oakland Art Museum, Oakland, CA. Her work has been collected by institutions such the Denver Art Museum, the Nevada Museum of Art, and Kadist Art Foundation.

The exhibition was made possible by the Arts & Humanities Council, the Grunwald Fund and the School of Art, Architecture + Design at Indiana University. The exhibition and visit are also sponsored by Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco.