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Hacked Women: Wood Carvings

Fernandez is a multidisciplinary artist and in her West London studio paintings, drawings and other visual concoctions usually share space and time with sculptures, both finished and in progress. Usually a sculptural piece  - or several-  will emerge at the same time than a series of bi-dimensional works, being drawings or paintings. The connection between disciplines would be quite clear, such as with her Soldiers, Camouflage & Weapons  that also produced almost 30 individual pieces called Building Blocks.

Yet Fernandez relationship with wood carvings is worth revising in isolation not only for its connections with her Venezuelan roots and early sculptural influences - Marisol Escobar (1930 - 2016 ) - but also the influence of polychrome wood religious Venezuelan colonial figures and folk art (also cited as some of Marisol's influences). To all this Fernandez also adds her encounter with the work of UK based Brazilian sculptor, painter and print maker Ana Maria Pacheco (b.1943) whose work she came across with back in 1999 when Pacheco was National Gallery's artist in residence.

Pacheco's  huge, raw, figure groups of polychrome sculptures carved in wood made Fernandez reconnect with all other wood sculptures she grew up, either in churches in the old town center of Caracas, colonial museums, polychrome folk art carved in wood that are ever present in Caracas homes, or  visiting the then magnificent art collection of the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Sofia  Imber (MACSI), in Caracas. This museum hosts several large sculptures by Venezuelan-American Marisol Escobar.

After Fernandez' s encounter with Pacheco"s figures group she went back home, in the Midlands, bought a petrol chain saw, a Sheffield Steel carving set and a mallet, visited a timber yard near home and set to teach herself how to carve.  

Her early works were heavily influenced by Pacheco and most of those first works had been repurposed as recent pieces. Over the years some of her carvings drifted towards polychrome abstract  expressions, usually linked to her large format charcoal drawings (for instance, the use of colours such as white, black and grey and the carving of fine line drawings on the painted surface or using artificial hair as means of making marks) or to Fernandez's sketchbook abstract doodles, as shown in this image gallery.

Yet some most recent carvings incorporated vibrant colours and even humorous captions, probably as a result of the influence from her enhanced monotypes.



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