For our #CollectionPick series, we ask members of our community to reflect on specific artworks in Ruby City’s permanent collection and share why these works speak to them. This week, we spoke with Hilary Rochow, artist and one of Ruby City’s Visitor Services Associates. Here is her response:

What work did you select?

While it is difficult to choose just one piece from Teresita Fernández’s work to talk about, I had to choose Burnout as my top pick. I’ve shared space with this piece for too long to not be impressed by the effect it has on its audience.

How would you describe this work in 3 words?

Ethereal, magnetic, layered.

Why does this work stand out to you?

What compels me most about any art piece, especially within the scope of contemporary art, is its ability to engage the viewers with little to no established common language. The way a simple shape, color, or idea can pull at a stranger and stop them in their tracks for a time is a testament to the power of visual communication. Fernández’s work is consistently fascinating in the way she skillfully uses basic forms and humble materials to create a visual experience much larger than the sum of its parts. Burnout, while it at first brush seems a loosely-organized conglomeration of semi-colored glass cubes, has an uncanny ability to engage viewers by its materiality. The glass planes and edges capture the directional light and fling it out prism-like such that each individual part seemingly sprouts wings. Visitors marvel at this effect, being often physically drawn into the space of the piece. This piece, currently on view in Ruby City’s inaugural exhibition Waking Dream, proves its gravity and gravitas by the way it constantly captures the attention of visitors to the space. I find it awe-inspiring to watch guest after guest be pulled up and into this deceivingly simple work.

What other artists does this remind you of and why?

I’m reminded of Donald Judd by the shared minimalism, Jim Campbell because of the use of simple material paired with light, and Joel Shapiro because of the way both he and Fernández use few and basic shapes to create a much larger experience that fills a space.