Mercedes Fernandez

As a painter utilizing canvas, metal, wood, and embroidery as ground and frame, my work exhibits a sculptural element with roots in the Mexican tradition of women's art. Family and friends are invited to participate in the execution of the embroidery bringing an element of participation and spontaneity into the pieces. I believe it is important to create an image and a social commentary that will positively influence how a Chicana is perceived in society today.

Traditional Christian imagery, ancient Mesoamerican motifs, and my private vocabulary of dreams and symbols combine in a personal mythology that is at once thoroughly grounded in the everyday as well as concerned with specific political issues and universal in its significance.

Recent works include a series of very small images in oil on antique crochet pieces found in my parent's attic in Mexico City. The crochet pieces have been carefully burned and painted with images that refer to fashion and woman's social status. Others represent landscapes of days and nights in the town of Capula, Mexico. These pieces are displayed hanging off the wall suspended by small needles visually creating the feeling of a falling snowflake.

Las Rosas (The Roses)

I currently reside in Houston, Texas but Capula, Mexico, is the place where my soul lives. Capula is a small town in Mexico where I have spent long periods of time painting in my adobe home. I erected this house fifteen years ago by making and placing each adobe brick with my own two hands. After I constructed my adobe home, I planted several rose bushes around it. Roses are among my favorite plants, and as I planted them I discovered their individual qualities. So I named them the Aromatic One, the Sensuous One, The Succulent One, etc.

In my recent works I utilize oil on embroideries. These embroideries are sold in the small town markets. While I grew up in Mexico, I saw how women embroidered them and displayed them with pride in their homes. As time has gone by, the beautiful tradition of embroidering has started to disappear due to the lack of time women find during the day to commit to such a delicate and long process. In the painting Las Rosas the dying petals became the soul of the painting and the names of my roses are written around the image.
Combining the image of dying petals with that of the embroidery I create a metaphor for the dying history, iconography, and folklore of my country.

El atardecer y el anochecer

This piece was painted in oils over two small crotchet pieces that were found in the attic of my parents' house in Mexico City. The images represent the day and night in the beautiful landscape of Capula, Mexico. The small delicate images and the burnt crotchet speak of fleeting memories, the subtle balance and precariousness of life in the small towns in Mexico.

El agave azul (The Blue Agave)

I stenciled the angels and embroidered them the same way many of the women in Mexico stencil and embroidered their own. The angels on both sides of the canvas are protecting the rows of agave that have been planted in the land because this plant provides food to many Mexican farmers. The agave plant is exported to the word in the form of tequila.

Más, Menos, Más Menos (triptych)

This triptych is painted on deshilados, which is made by the women in Pátzcuaro, Mexico. This painting speaks of the quality and beauty of the fruits and life in the small towns in Mexico. Más is shown with a pitaya being cut in half in the warmth of a small Mexican kitchen. Menos is represented by a luscious mamey cut in half and some capulinos, which is a typical cherry like fruit from that region, and in Más Menos only a pear is left.