(American, b. 1980; resides in Highwood, IL)
Juan Fernandez’s series Façade centers on the vernacular architecture of schools, industrial buildings, and suburban housing. In his studied, formal approach to the seemingly banal subject matter, Fernandez highlights subtle tensions within familiar urban and suburban sights.
In order to free the work from a definitive place or time, Fernandez shoots only in overcast skies and digitally removes distracting elements such as traffic posts or signage from each image. Small blemishes—cracks in the sidewalk, litter, and stains on the side of a building—remain, hinting at the utilitarian nature of the buildings as well as impossibility of perfection in built architecture. . As Fernandez describes, “I want the peculiarities to exist as metaphors for uneasiness, rejection, and isolation. I illustrate these feelings as odd photographic moments within a landscape of form, structure, and order. The images in Façade provide the viewer with a sense of existing in an eerie space between reality and fiction, as Fernandez invites the viewer to challenge the authority of the photograph as a document.
Juan Fernandez completed his BFA in Photography at Columbia College Chicago (2010) and his MFA in Photography at Northern Illinois University (2013). His photographs have been exhibited at The Houston Center for Photography, Texas, The Midwest Center for Photography, Wichita, Kansas, and The Center for Photography at Woodstock, New York, among others. He lives and works in Highwood, IL.