Renata Fernandez  
* 1971 Caracas (Venezuela), based in London

I couldn't Kiss You Good Bye, I couldn't Tell I Love You. The London Bombings. 7/7 2005. Charcoal, pastel and acrylic on paper. 94 x 154cm

Renata shares her birthday with Picasso!

No wonder, her art is outstanding and unique. Artbust knows her well as we had featured her for 5 years. Renata Fernandez is an outstanding artists. Personally she - as every scorpio is difficult to approach although charming in the first place.

Just have a look at this charming oil painting above, her answer to 2005 London Bombings. It's an outstanding piece of art work. Sadly it has been hardly acknowledged (although Artbust was pushing for it; see press release).

Is her period of strong bacl and white paintingss, or charcoal drawings over?

Now she writes a pastel language, with shades of even pink and an lovely yellow. This developed in consequence of the 2005 drawing "Reconstruction of Rescued Girl" (below) and "I want to be" (also below), which bases on a photo taken in the Afghanistan war by a friend of ours." (artbust, Joe Bohne)

See a selection of the artists' favourite works here

Here are some of her latest works of 2008:    
"Hand 1", 2008. Charcoal acrylic, oil pastels on paper, 67 x 85 cm    "Hand 2 in Technicolour", 2008. Oil on coated paper, 67 x 82cm    
    right: "Camouflage 2" , 2008. Oil on coated paper,
82 x 57

In Fernandez' work the crucial factor is in her own words "the Power of Transformation", which starts with making use of any materials or ready-made images available, adapting her own skills in the process, to make tangible the "suggestions" of these materials or found images. Like her native culture, her work is one of forced integration, no planned transformation. It is the generous touch of the synchronicity and serendipity.

Born in Venezuela, of Spanish parents, Fernandez studied Fine Arts in the IUESAPAR, in Caracas.

For five years she had the opportunity to receive all-round art education, following in the then new school's holistic approach towards art and art education in general.

This first group or art students were lectured in post-modern philosophy and ethics, art history, opera, theatre and even anthropology. Fernandez considers these years the most important in her formal education.

At the same time, Fernandez studied Social Sciences and Media Studies in the UCAB, Caracas' Jesuit University. She managed to do some theatre and contemporary dance while learning about acting and set designing. Fernandez constantly talks about the need to understand other artistic languages, and this curiosity extends to other disciplines, far away from art itself.

  Deconstruction of Rescued Girl. Oil on hinged canvas.2005. 97 x 117cm

In art school she realised that the essential precondition on the creation of a painting is the creation of an environment of freedom, which in her case translate as breaking away from the canvas, getting rid of the stretcher. To this process, the making of structures followed, from where the canvases hung. These structures seemed to take over the overall work at times. Total liberation from formal art frams is ourdescription today, as the installation, including a painted tree the white pebbles and 3 oil paintings in our "Ruthless Peckham" show in London demonstrates.

Tropical Garden of Eden. ink, charcoal, acrylic, oil on plywood, varnish, artificial tree. 2005. 1.80 x 6 x 0.5 m

Renata Fernandez says she practices the strategy of need, a process of permanent adaptation, where 'style' doesn't seem to be relevant (as a style that would be recognisable as her permanent signature). In Fernandez there are constant preoccupations, such as the way she deal with materials and a certain visual code, certain elements and imaginary that keeps reappearing. By mixing up disparate elements or images, Fernandez seeks a unit of meaning, by way of producing an unique hermeneutic that would emerge from each piece.

Fernandez moved to London in 2003, after years of 'therapy' in the country side. That year she was awarded a solo show in the 198 Gallery.

Fernandez recycles and revisits ideas and generates derivative images from her own work. Sometimes a friend would pose for her and a new line of work emerges at the same time while the press still gives her some inspiration, such the London bombings drawing, of I Want to be, based on a photo of a soldier at the beginning of the Irak invasion.

Rejecting any other interpretation, Fernandez frequently wonders that by taking images and materials by random she is just responding to our shared, basic subjacent collective subconscious.

Fernandez does not quote other people's work or styles, or seeks to put her art into a recognisable or already legitimised frame or style.
  I want to be...MDF, felt, velvet, upholstery filling. 2005. 205 x 150 x 10 cm


Renata's STATEMENT #Artbust:

"My work is figurative. But the figure is an excuse, the chosen element (chosen by random) is to create formal problems. I assemble images from ready-made sources (papers, for instance) and work them until exhaustion. The same treatment is applied to any given material: textiles, timber, etc

I can say that one of my preoccupations is SEMIOTICS: by taking upon an given image, or material, and working them until exhaustion creating formal problems, I pretend to extract, or find out the reason why the image or material first caught my attention, and if such reason lies upon the underlying collective subconscious.

Usually such image or material becomes the subject of a series, effectively creating "islands" of subject matters in my work, that I visit or re-visit in time to time: the soldier, the Garden of Eden, the walk in the park, velvet, fences, etc. They comprise my ever growing imaginary, and sometimes mixed together creating a complete new subject.

The viewer might think that there is a narrative intention in my work just because I make use of the figure. My approach actually is quite detached, and more often than not I care little about the possible personal emotional content of a work. My objective is to generate the right circumstances to encourage the viewer's own interpretations. Given the opportunity, I would rather ask questions to the viewer regarding my work rather than answer. In this process of apparent deception, tittles are often long and incongruous. Above all, I reject any further interpretation.

At the end, in my work what matters is the power of transformation, THE MAKING, during which I adapt my own skills in the process, to make tangible the "suggestions" made to me by images and materials (where would they take me?). This process of apparent "exhaustion" of the subject matter is one of forced integration, no planned transformation, hence each work's own hermeneutic. I must add the importance of the generous touch of synchronicity and serendipity. Although my work is "organised" in series, each phase (object) would ideally stand on its own, both conceptually and as an object."

RENATA'S STATEMENT @ Saatchi Online Gallery:

"What I have been doing lately is trying to find a common ground between the different disciplines I am expressing myself: drawing, painting and sculpture.
Although I part from the figure my aim is to make it disappear, or almost, seeking the abstraction of the figure, a seemingly simply image made out of many complex layers.

I feel I reached a stage in which I can “move” knowingly, follow a specific direction to with my drawing, with that humble tool, the charcoal, and the whiteness of the paper and the putty rubber, in other words, using a minimum of elements. “First Human Landscape” reflects a stage in my drawing I finally feel comfortable to be associated with, the result of several years of trying. Almost simultaneously, I tried to emulate or transfer this newly acquired skills, which are deep-seated in the ability to achieve by rejoicing in the restriction - the use a minimum of elements - to my painting: to practice restrain in order to reach progress.

(photo by Renata Fernandez from her exhibition in May 2009. "Convent Sant Agusti" Barcelona, Spain)

What I keep on learning over and over again with such exercises of restriction, is that I as an artist I can easily become the tool (and I very much felt like that, every time) because after all, as even Richter acknowledges, in order to paint it is essential to achieved an environment of freedom, starting with getting rid of the original idea, forgetting the given image or the original source of inspiration, stop imposing and “listen”, listen carefully to the painting or the drawing or the sculpture in progress, and allow it to guide you towards a conclusion, whichever that is, and assume the consequences, without fear, confident that I have nothing to loose."


We love her oil paintings but equally her sculptures:


But also we have all eyes on Renata's early paintings around the period she attended the Venezuelean Art School.

The two paintings on the left - on the right are amongst the first ones done in the UK.

Left to right:
Joe Bohne (Artbust),
Gloria Carnevali (at that time: Cultural Attaché of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela),
Renata Fernandez,
and the curator of Cameron Mackintosh's Tricycle Gallery in London.

(that the "Unknown photographer" cut off our feet in order to fit the paintings in - is appreciated!)



Venezuelan -born

1991-1996 Instituto Universitario de Estudios Superiores de Artes Plásticas Armando Reverón. (IUESAPAR). Caracas, Venezuela. Fine Arts.
1988-1993 Universidad Católica Adrés Bello (UCAB). Caracas, Venezuela. Humanities, Social Sciences, Media Studies.
1988-1995 AGO Teatro. Caracas, Venezuela. Drama, Set Design.

2006 Best Galerie, Bielefeld, Germany
2004 High Street Hunting. Tricycle Theatre/Gallery, London.
2003 Everyday Epic. 198 Gallery, London
2001 The Battle of the Poppy. Stamford Art Gallery, East Anglia.
1995 Caracas es un Perro (Caracas es un Perro). Teatro San Martin Gallery, Caracas, Venezuela.

GROUP SHOWS, selection

2010 Wall of Authority, The Old Police Station. London
2009 Family Portraits, Convent Sant Agusti. Barcelona. Spain
2007 Run Rabbit Run, Primo Alonso Gallery, Hackney, London
2007 Flock, GX Gallery, Camberwell, London
2006 Notions of Drawing
2006 Ruthless Peckham 2. Also executive producer for
2005 RUTHLESS-PECKHAM 1. Also consulting producer for
2003 9th East England Contemporary Art Auction. Djanogly gallery, Nottingham. Art vs Mainstream. Plinth, Leeds.
2002 Sporting' Art. North Light Gallery. Yorkshire. Challenge the Nail. Salon des Arts, London. 8th East England Contemporay Art Auction. Djanogly gallery, Nottingham.
2001 Atkinson Gallery Summer Exhibition. Millfield School, Somerset.
1999 New English Art Club, Mall galleries, London
1997 IX Bienal Internacional de Vila Nova de Cerveira. Portugal.
Salon de Pintura de Caracas. Venezuela.
1996 La Mirada. Museo Jacobo Borges de Caracas. Venezuela. Del Oeste. Museo Jacobo Borges de Caracas. Venezuela

2001 2nd Award Atkinson Gallery Summer Exhibition. Millfield School.
1994-96 Scholarship, Asociación Venezolano Americano de la Amistad (AVAA)
1993 Orden José Félix Rivas, Third Class, national prize for artistic accomplishments as a young promising artist. Venezuela

Venezuela, France (permanent, private exhibition with Artbust France), Germany




©2010 (reworked)
All rights reserved.

by London Inside Ltd.