Under Pressure


That’s the terror of knowing what this world is about…

Human beings have a hard time facing ugly truths. But what if an artist makes them beautiful? How then might we respond? Rather than turn away, would we change our ways, could we turn the tide against oncoming disaster?

This query is the central provocation in the work presented by Ana Teresa Fernández. It is the hope that sets her performance into motion and it is the offer she extends to us as an audience of anything but innocent bystanders. We are the source of rising sea levels. We are the melting glaciers and the threatened coastal communities.

The artist does not absolve herself of responsibility. It is her heel upon the surface of a fragile ocean planet as represented in the stunning film Under Pressure, which premiers at the Arion Press Gallery on September 22nd. We see her set the waves in motion. We see the impact. We feel the loss. Then, we are invited to experience the relief of reversal.

Fernandez is not only an artist of stunning visual poetry, she is also an astute social activist. It is not guilt and shame that motivate people to be their best selves; it is inspiration, empowerment, and hope that remind us of how intrinsically we are all connected in thought and deed.

… love dares you to care for

The people on the edge of the night

And love dares you to change our way of

Caring about ourselves

UNDER PRESSURE presents the eponymous film, 5 photographs of its still frames, and ## gorgeous 6 foot (ala projected sea level rise) painted works on paper that are the relics of her performance. The exhibition runs from September 22 – October 16, 2022. The launch event from 6pm-8pm is open to the public (LINK) and all work is for sale with thanks to Catharine Clark Gallery. The show’s title and quoted song lyrics above are from “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie.

~Tamsin Smith, curator-in-residence at The Arion Press