In parallel with her studies in Fine Arts at the Universitity of the Basque Country, in 1979 she established, with Juan Luis Moraza, the Comité de Vigilancia Artística (Artistic Surveillance Committee – CVA), a Conceptual art collective involved with actions, objects and texts as a reflection on the art system in the contemporary context. CVA was active until 1985. In the nineties, María Luisa Fernández moved to Vigo, where she combined a period of university teaching with an artistic practice that included object and pictorial production that often questioned the representation of the figure of the artist and especially of women. With a language close to post-Minimalism, Conceptualism and the Basque sculptural tradition, her works display irony and humour, incorporating puns and double meanings, as well as the recurring presence of nature.
With CVA, she exhibited at the Casa de España, Paris (1980) and at the Sala Metrònom, Barcelona (1983), among other venues. Other exhibitions include the Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao, and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Vigo (2014); and the Centro Alhóndiga, Bilbao (2015). Her work is included in collections such as the Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid; Fundació ”la Caixa”, Barcelona; Artium, Vitoria-Gasteiz; and MACBA, Barcelona.