Born in 1949 in San Angelo and raised in Odessa, Texas, Tina Fuentes earned B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees at North Texas State University in Denton, Texas where she trained in painting, drawing and printmaking. Her teaching experience has been teaching art within the Texas Public Schools, Waco Art Center, University of Albuquerque, and the University of New Mexico. Presently she is Professor within the School of Art at Texas Tech University. She has numerous one woman, group, museum and gallery exhibitions to her credit from throughout the U.S. and particularly Texas and New Mexico. She has participated extensively as an exhibition juror and has served as a member of the Visual Arts Panel’s of the New Mexico State Arts Division and the Texas Commission on the Arts. She has also served as juror and board member of the Albuquerque Arts Board 1% for Art Program. She has served as proposal reviewer for the Texas Tech University Public Arts Program Sub Committee and serves on several committees for Texas Tech University. She has received several grants over the years. Most recently a National Science Foundation grant for a science/art collaborative proposal. Exhibit/208 Gallery, in Albuquerque, presently represents her work. Tina Fuentes maintains a studio in Lubbock, Texas.
For thirty years now I have realized my art in drawings, paintings and prints and have found the exploration of the various techniques to be rewarding. Beyond the advancement of my technical skills, I have been rewarded by seeing my inner thoughts and energies come to fruition in two-dimensional form.
Throughout my artistic explorations, I have consistently used the human form. The figures have gone through several transformations. They have been literally stated; they have been hidden in shadows. At times, they have been defined by delicate sensuous, linear qualities that intrigue the viewer. At other times, the figures have taken on more ominous qualities, becoming dark, foreboding, and mysterious forms. Within the 1990’s, another transformation occurred in my exploration of the human form. My exploration turned to an examination of the female form in connection to the symbol of the “cross.” The “Female & Cross” metaphor surfaced in my art as a metaphor for the feminine strength and power. In order to facilitate my exploration of the theme, I constructed an eight-foot cross and used it in conjunction with a live model. Revealed in three dimensions, the model and cross helped me to realize the potential for reinterpretation of a symbol traditionally lined to a male figure.
As part of this ongoing development of the theme, I investigated the metaphor outside of the confines of my studio. Upon traveling to Highland Chiapas to the city of San Cristobal de las Casas I visited the villages of Chamula and Romerillo to view their mountain crosses. These immense crosses are viewed to be manifestations of both god and creator ancestors. At times they are being either or both genders. My goal was to travel as both an artist and observer -- to explore and to try to understand the fusion of ancestor, god, man and woman that these crosses represent to the Maya. With the notes, drawings and photos from the trip’s, consolidated and studied, I continued to work on the cross image with what I believe has been an even fuller sense of its potential meaning.
As the work has evolved, I have had the opportunity to expand my research beyond the two-dimensional format. In 1998-99 I was able to expand my studio medium into the word of film via computer. Introduction and involvement of this technology has begun to provide a viable dialogue for my images. Thus, a reshaping of the visual growth continues to unfold.
Over the past couple of years, my works have embraced and integrated illusions of space inspired by land/space that exists here in the South Plains of West Texas. These artistic engagements with issues of geographical/atmospheric phenomena have led to a broadening interest in the vastness of the arid spaces of the desert corridor that extends beyond the boundaries of West Texas. These explorations will b taking me to the Mexican Chihuahua Desert and the Sierra Madre Occidental. My journey will continue onto the Sonora Desert in the Tucson, Arizona region. Taking my drawing tools, camera and movie projector to these locations to document the spaces will enable me to return to my studio with ideas and images that will filter into the work produced.