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Visions and Reflections: Roberto Fernandez Ibáñez

  • OAS | AMA F Street Gallery 1889 F Street Northwest Washington, DC, 20006 United States (map)
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The OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas announces the opening of Roberto Fernandez Ibañez: Visions and Reflections. Curated by Fabián Goncalves Borrega, the exhibition features four of the Uruguayan artist’s photographic series addressing human impact on the environment: Earthy Resilience, Melting Point, The Hand, and Rara Avis. \

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The works of the four selected series—three of which do without the camera as an instrument to create images—reflect the artist's concern for the coexistence of humans with nature. Fernandez Ibañez harnesses the environment’s capabilities to transform, to have a say in the artwork. He does not resist, but embraces, the environment’s having a role in his working process. 

According to the artist, “I base my work in three pillars: the idea, the choice of a technique and the selection of materials to express what I want to. I am prepared to receive Chance…I think of it as a fortuitous event that must be always taken into account. Once discovered, I try to put it under control, although perhaps it’s at the inverse. For the developing of film and for the printing of my photographs I use formulas of my own, trying to give each picture a special atmosphere…To quest, to investigate, to answer: these are my aims and my leitmotivs.”

The material not only changes when it is exposed to light, but also can be transformed, tuned and textured by techniques and laboratory processes. This is the conceptual line and central part of the artistic discourse in almost all the work of Fernández Ibáñez. For instance, in the series Rara Avis, the artist presents a narrative in which the photographic images of birds are not so much a representational reflection of nature, but a fictional recreation of it: assemblages of organic materials found in the forest. After the image is captured in film, the photographic prints are chemically manipulated and mechanically intervened. The leaves and branches that fell from the tree to the ground in a single descending trip, allude to the flight of (im)possible birds that once settled on them.

Roberto G. Fernández Ibáñez was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1955. His love for photography began when he was 28 years old, when his wife gifted him an issue of Popular Photography magazine. Since then, he began a long self-taught way to master photographic processes and techniques. In 1985 he constructed his first darkroom, where he spent his free time after his work in the chemical industry. He was then invited to show some of his works in a collective exhibition, and in 1987 held his first solo exhibition. He exhibited in Houston FotoFest in 1992, continuing to exhibit worldwide while his work was acquired by public and private collections. His background in chemistry aided him to investigate different darkroom techniques and to make his own formulas for developing photos. In 2010 he moved with his family to the countryside of Solymar, near Montevideo, where he built his second darkroom. 

Fernández won the International Portfolio Review Forum at the Festival of Light, Argentine, in 2004 and 2014. Besides being Honored Guest at FotoFest '92, he was selected for inclusion in FotoFest International Discoveries 2007 and 2015, Houston. His works were exhibited in Biennial FotoFest 2016 "Changing Circumstances,” Houston. He received First Prize at V Municipal Salon of Arts, Montevideo, Uruguay. He was honored with the Uruguayan Morosoli Award in Arts, in recognition to his artistic trajectory and his contribution to Uruguayan Culture. Fernández lives and works in Solymar.

The AMA serves as the principal instrument of cultural diplomacy of the OAS. AMA’s mission is founded on the notion that the arts are transformative for individuals and communities. This guiding principle promotes the core values of the OAS by providing a space for cultural expression, creativity, innovation, dialog, and learning, while highlighting themes such as democracy, development, human rights, justice, freedom of expression, and innovation. AMA’s work draws on contemporary art to showcase a constructive vision of the future of the Americas via local and hemispheric cultural exchange. 

Accessibility: AMA’s F Street Gallery is wheelchair accessible. For more information on accessibility, or to make an appointment to visit, please contact 202 370 0147 or artmus@oas.org