A few days ago I was browsing the web and an article caught my attention. The subject was whether animals intentionally take their own lives. I read with intrigue and became so engrossed, I felt compelled to do more research. From the plethora of articles I read, the gist is that there is no conclusive evidence that animals commit suicide. This is despite a whole load of anecdotal cases: bees sacrificing their lives for their colonies, the dolphin that sank to the bottom of its tank and stopped breathing, the Newfoundland that tried to drown itself.
In order to attempt or commit suicide, one has to be self aware, posses the ability for self-reflection and be aware of one’s own mortality. Furthermore, we have to be able to premeditate and imagine. While some animals, like chimpanzees, are self-aware, and others plan ahead, as far as we know these other characteristics don’t exist in animals. Thus, human beings are in a league of their own when it comes to suicide.
This got me thinking about the nature of abstract art. About its predetermination, its intentionality and its planning, as well as its meaning. Our search for meaning preoccupies many of us. We often want to apply some kind of meaning, our own or any kind, when confronted by a piece of abstract art. Conversely, we can take so much more meaning, understanding and engagement from an abstract painting when we know the concept behind it. That was certainly my experience when I read our newest guest artist’s statement about her work. I fell in love with the vibrant, bold, energetic nature of Luz Fernandez’s paintings but it was her point of view that made me stop, think and look again.
Luz Fernandez is a New York City native living and working in Brooklyn. She graduated from Hampshire College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2012. Fernandez is a multimedia installation artist with a recent focus in painting. In 2013, she spent seven months living in Berlin, working alongside multi-media artist Satch Hoyt as his assistant and studio manager. She is now involved with DIY Brooklyn venues such as Silent Barn in Bushwick and 988 Manhattan, a Greenpoint art center she helped launch and manage, where she exhibited a solo show in 2016.
About her work
Using oversized tools and working with the materiality of paint to create heavy textures, Fernandez draws attention to the performative act of mark-making. The process is a careful type of action-painting intended to address the inexorable passage of time with the quality and strength of each mark. She approaches artmaking as an occult practice of balancing color, texture, and composition to conjure sensations and summon memories. Contemporary language, represented by the semiotics of social networking and digital dialects, plays an essential role. The titles of the pieces act as cultural signifiers, incorporating the acronyms, misspellings, and shorthands that have appeared on the internet and have reconfigured language in a short period of time.