Originally from Mexico City, Alfonso Fernandez attended the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts in Minneapolis, where he earned his BFA in Painting and Printmaking in 2013. In 2016, Fernandez earned his MFA from the LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), where he was an apprentice to Director of the Hoffberger School at MICA, Joan Waltemath. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States, most recently at the Katzen Art Center at American University in Washington, DC, the Circa Gallery in Minneapolis, and the C. Grimaldis Gallery in Baltimore, where he is represented. Alfonso Fernandez currently a resident artist at Creative Alliance.
Fernandez’s paintings are social, psychological, and personal investigations. His work brings to light the idea that borders can be blurred and overlapped in order to reconsider the associative labels of not only painting itself, but also the labels society assigns to each of us. Since moving to Baltimore, his work has evolved in response to living and working in a new, unfamiliar city, taking on abstraction in the wake of unrest, representation of societal memory, and figuration through the loss of identity. Each of these investigations are grounded in Fernandez’s experience moving from Mexico to the United States and his efforts at balancing different cultures and languages, while handling the contested spaces of ethnography and assimilation.
With a direct emphasis on process as the first act of expression, Fernandez does not amplify his politics to the sound of alarms but rather, places empathy on a narrative that has been overshadowed by the ongoing friction between these two neighboring countries. Subsequently, the tenor in his works are poetic yet non-complacent as they underscore issues of immigration, drug violence and economic hardship. The paintings’ intimacy, while simultaneously enveloping the viewer, creates a space that viewers are free to enter even though its surface tension presents a layered history of displacement.
Acting as containers for cultural memory though a diffused mirror of identity politics, Fernandez’s work deconstructs the pictorial plane into a series of moments that follow the debris of humanity—as it falls, gets up, and tries to find its own path.