Ana María Hernando: “To Let the Sky Know/Dejar que el cielo sepa” Unfolding in Madison Square Park

 

 

 

Ana María Hernando: “T Let the Sky Know/Dejar que el cielo sepa” in Madison Square Park

Ana María Hernando creates sculpture in an abundance of tulle—the sumptuous fabric netting—inspired by natural forms and transformed through the sewing process. Across the lawns in Madison Square Park, the artist has realized a series of beauteous, atmospheric clouds and a cascading waterfall that float above and alongside viewers. This public art project inaugurates the twentieth-anniversary year of Madison Square Park Conservancy’s art program, launched in 2004.

Ana María Hernando: “T Let the Sky Know/Dejar que el cielo sepa” in Madison Square Park

Tulle is a material often associated with hiding secrets by concealing aspects of women’s identity. In petticoats, tulle was the unseen layer that helped enhance a woman’s waist but hid her legs under a voluminous skirt silhouette. Tulle is also traditionally sewn into bridal veils so that the wearer’s face will be carefully masked behind a scrim of white. Tutus in tulle became bell-shaped forms that hover around a ballet dancer, encircling her upper and lower body with mystery. Hernando first used tulle in her work in 2016; this followed her creation in 2009 of a towering sculpture for an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, what she calls a “feminist mountain” of petticoats, built in collaboration with women from Mollomarca in the Peruvian Andes. In her ongoing work and now in Madison Square Park, Hernando is revising long-held associations for tulle, advancing new meaning by daylighting a fabric that has often been engaged to guard aspects of gender.

Ana María Hernando: “T Let the Sky Know/Dejar que el cielo sepa” in Madison Square Park

Hernando has other goals for To Let the Sky Know / Dejar que el cielo sepa. In response to the bleak cityscape of wintertime, she has inserted tulle sculptures of vibrant coloration and buoyancy as symbols of hope, growth, and fluidity. Her sculptures beckon with their seeming fragility and evanescence; ultimately, their durability takes hold of our memories.

Ana María Hernando: “T Let the Sky Know/Dejar que el cielo sepa” in Madison Square Park

The artist recently described how sitting alongside generations of women during her childhood in Buenos Aires inspired the materials and process in her current work:

“I grew up surrounded by textiles: my grandmothers and my mother would get together in the afternoons to sew and crochet, and as a teenager I spent summers sewing in my maternal grandparents’ small textile factory that had begun in the 1920s. Because of the influence of the women in my family, and my recognition from working at the factory that we can make something better together than alone, I am attracted to and admire circles of women who have gathered over the centuries to collaborate and accompany one another.”

Hernando directs her sewing process toward optimism, as an emblem of opportunity and invincibility. Handworked textiles and wares are an inspiration, as Hernando generates sculpture in response not only to ephemeral forces in nature but also to the work of women in Latin America and the Latin American diaspora—from the embroideries of cloistered nuns in Buenos Aires, to the weavings and other crafts of Peruvian women in the Andes, to the contributions of the artist’s communities in Denver. And now that inspiration is shared with viewers in Madison Square Park.

Madison Square Park, January 2024

About the artist ~ Ana María Hernando received a BFA from the California College of the Arts in Oakland and a BS from the Instituto Superior de Profesorado de Educación Inicial “Sara C. de Eccleston” in Buenos Aires. She has had solo exhibitions at the Denver Botanic Gardens and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, La Napoule Art Foundation in France, and Oklahoma Contemporary in Oklahoma City, among other venues. She is a 2023 Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellow. In 2023, Hernando participated in Transforming Public Art, Madison Square Park Conservancy’s annual symposium. The artist represents Colorado in the 2024 New Worlds: Women to Watch exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.

Ana María Hernando: “T Let the Sky Know/Dejar que el cielo sepa” in Madison Square Park, January 12, 2024, a work in progress. Unveiling on January 16th.

About Madison Square Park Conservancy ~ Since 2004, Madison Square Park Conservancy has commissioned and presented premier projects by visionary artists ranging in practice and media. This year, the art program celebrates its twentieth anniversary with innovative exhibitions, a comprehensive publication, scholarly and exultant programs, and outreach to new communities.

Madison Square Park Conservancy is responsible for raising 100 percent of the funds necessary to operate the park, including its dynamic public art program, vibrant horticulture, maintenance, sanitation, security, and free cultural programs for park visitors.

Ana María Hernando: “To Let the Sky Know/Dejar que el cielo sepa” in Madison Square Park will be on view from January 16 to March 17, 2024 in Madison Square Park. The unveiling will take place on Tuesday, January 16th from 6-7pm, with remarks at 6:30pm, on the Oval Lawn, Madison Square Park.

Take a look back at other installations in Madison Square Park.

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