When Canadian artist Brendan Fernandes came to Vancouver for his two-month Field House Residency in 2014, he began a new research trajectory that departed from his usual artistic and dance practice, exploring the gendered and queer body as it is shaped specifically in ballet. His interest in working with photographs and architectural supports to explore gesture and movement also relates to his ongoing interest in interrogating issues of identity formation and performance. Consistent with the Field House’s mandate of community-engaged projects and events, Fernandes organized a series of workshops during his residency.
Following his Field House Residency with CAG, Fernandes has participated widely in solo and group exhibitions, as well as completing a number of other residencies across the United States. Recently, Fernandes produced a new project for the New York nonprofit Recess, which held performances and events throughout August of this year. The project, Steady Pulse, included large, flesh-toned Minimalist panels, which dancers moved, leaned and danced on top of in the gallery. The project recalled the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida from 2016, an incident by which Fernandes felt deeply impacted. The dance component of the project, Hit Back, investigated ways of dealing with confrontation using non-violent gestures, the dancers moving in ways which referenced, “intimacy and care, of picking up, and of holding each other.”*
Interestingly, Fernandes’ desire to explore gestural movement in relation to panels, beams and supports this year at Recess can be linked directly to the train of thought he began exploring during his Field House residency in Vancouver.
Fernandes will have a solo exhibition, To Find a Forest, at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in 2018.