Jake Fernanez is a professional fine artist specializing in landscape, including site-specific commissioned paintings for public and private spaces. He works in oil on wood panels, oil on canvas or linen, and pastel, both in small and large scale. It is easy to understand why Fernandez calls both New York and Florida home by the roster of galleries where he exhibits. What is harder to grasp is that this urban artist captures the very essence of nature while living in the city. The ability to sort out an essential natural order from a tangle of vines and branches or from rippling ponds and then to recreate this with altruism and vision is a measure of his innate creativity, his discipline and his particular art language. I am so very happy to introduce you to my Linked in friend, Jake Fernandez!
Born in Havana, Cuba in 1951, Jake Fernandez and his family moved permanently to Miami, Florida in 1961. At the age of six years old, Fernandez’ great interest in the arts and music was evident. Of his early years, he says,“I was mesmerized by paint on a flat surface. My grandmother had some 19th century genre and landscape paintings and I remember staring at them in awe. I thought they were magical.”He began drawing at the age of seven years and as well studied music. Later as a child he began to study under Felix Ramos, son of Domingo Ramos, a well-known Cuban landscape painter. Felix Ramos was a taskmaster who believed in drawing from life and who taught with an academic approach to learning the technical part of painting. Throughout his childhood, Fernandez parents were very supportive and they both encouraged him to find his own way. He attended the University of Florida, graduating in 1976 with a BFA and then went on to the University of South Florida where he received his MFA in 1979. Also he studied with the American painter, Hiram D. Williams, who was an important teacher to him. Although stylistically very different from Fernadez’ art work, he found his ideas about art were interesting and challenging.
Exquisitely formed details, colors that complement one another, a faultlessly integrated contrast of tones, rythmn and balance, high realism at it’s finest, mesmerizing; all of these descriptive nuances fail to completely describe the art work of Jake Fernandez with accuracy. From the moment we view one of his paintings, we are extended an invitation to dance within the layers and layers of his composition. Fernandez says, “I was influenced by musicians more than painters. The multi-track recording of les Paul inspired me to create a multi-layered way of working. One pass at a time.” In “Timpson Creek,” above, we see sunlight bursting through purple branches, diffusing the branches of the forest. We are offered the experience of being present within the landscape first to look and then to glance back again and again at the sunlight and the array of foliage.
The warm blues and golds in “Perico Island” are stunningly accurate in their depiction of this reflection, water lilies and grasses. This painting reaches out and offers the viewer an up close and personal point of view that can create a very real sense of intimacy. It is as if we are present at the edge of the pond looking down into the calm water.
When I asked Jake Fernandez about his creative process he said “My process starts with zeroing on a subject, either by just dreaming about it or simply coming across it by chance. I start by making geometric drawings like an armature. These patterns have more to do with my plan of action than anything else. At this point I am thinking about the sequence and process rather than describing visual imagery. Lately I have used mandala patterns and I am working my paintings from the center out towards the edge. I shoot many photographs, more like blurred or degraded snapshots, of the place of interest, randomly and without looking through the viewfinder. I sometimes return to the same location at a different time of day and repeat the process. This results in an arbitrary and incomplete “mosaic” of photographic information that I re-assemble in the studio. The gaps that vary from painting to painting are unified by imaginary marks that I apply. This completes the study or template from where I develop the finished piece.”
Fernandez further explained that he then uses a series of grids and coordinates to translate, transpose, redact and sometimes ignore the information in the template as he works one sector at a time until the painting is completed.
His creative sensibilities would appear to be characterized by fluidity, light and a reverence for both the subject and the materials. Fernandez’ choices about how he creates his art work speak clearly of his dynamic sense of composition and his powerful connection to the overall natural image. To balance so much without effort, trusting in his creative process to supply him with all he needs, is the path of a true creative.
Because he has lived almost his entire life on the East Coast of the U.S.A. in New York City and Florida he tends to choose locations for his paintings that he finds himself in by chance or circumstance. “I don’t quite understand what drives me to a given location. Sometimes is just a hunch or a totally arbitrary selection. Most places were random and of no extraordinary significance. For example: a puddle of water, a patch of grass, etc.,” says Fernandez.
The South of the U.S.A., Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and the Carolinas are places that he chose to paint due to their relative proximity to his home bases. The scale of Fernandez’ art work ranges from very small to as large as 90 x 90 inches and yet he never looses sight of bringing forth the composition to completion in a way that is uniquely his.
It is rare to find this combination of technical skill, vision and matured art language that together combine to form Fernandez’ creative authenticity. He is a Master Painter using traditional materials who brings to his art works both a modern eye and new methods. I personally believe that if his paintings were music, they would be grand symphonies with every instrument in perfect sync. And Fernandez is the composer, painting each stroke to a beat and each layer to a rhythm that only he can discover.
Selected collections of Fernandez’ art works include the Florida State Capitol in the Florida Senate Building, Tallahassee, Florida, Contemporary Art Museum at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, Florida House of Representatives in the Florida State Capitol Building, Tallahassee, Florida , Pepsico, Sarasota, Florida, American Express Corporation, IBM Corporation and St. Petersburg Community College in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Selected exhibitions of Fernandez art works include ACA Galleries, New York, Museum of Art, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Marcelle Fine Art, New York, New York, Jacksonville Museum of Art, Jacksonville, Flordia, Present Global Gallery, West Palm Beach, Florida, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston Salem, NC, Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, Florida, Westwood Gallery, New York, New York, Hammer Galleries, New York, New York, Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, Florida, Bess Cutler Gallery, New York, New York, Ormond Memorial Art Museum, Ormond Beach, Florida, Florida State University Museum, Tallahassee, Florida, Frances Wolfson Art Center, Miami, Florida, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, Stuart Levy Gallery, New York, New York, Robert Friedus Gallery, New York, New York, Timpson Gallery, Clayton, GA, Center for the Arts, Vero Beach, Florida, Sori Fine Arts, Coral Gables, Florida, Now Gallery, New York, New York, Stokker-Stikker Gallery, New York, New York and the Gallery Gemini, Palm Beach, Florida.
Fernandez says, “My only intention is to build upon (and sometimes destroy) what I already technically and conceptually know. I try not to choose depressing or shocking subject matter for I see no good reason to burden myself, or others by perversely offering what is abundantly common in everyday life.”And he clearly achieves his intention by magnetically drawing us into the many layers of movement within his artworks. Inescapably, as we view his art works, we cannot help but be reminded of all that is right and good in our world. Truly a purveyor of nature in all it’s splendor, he summons forth his multi-layered compositions from seemingly chaotic tangles of branches, roots, lily pads and ever changing waters. Jake Fernandez’ paintings can also create an uncommon awakening into the dimensions of the ephemeral, for those who listen and look for the magic!
Please visit Jake Fernandez at the following websites:
http://www.jakefernandez.com/ http://www.facebook.com/jakefernandezart http://www.askart.com/askart/studio/studio.aspx?Studio=11188912 http://www.linkedin.com/in/jakefernandez
Thank you to JANE SHIREK, Photographer, New York, USA for allowing us to include her photographer of Jake!
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