The Carter presents “Sandy Rodriguez in Isolation”

Fort Worth, TX – Shedding light on the complexity of artistic creation amid a global pandemic, in December, the Amon Carter (The Carter) Museum of American Art will present Sandy Rodriguez in isolation, a selection of new works on paper designed by the Los Angeles-based painter during her artist residency Joshua Tree Highlands in Southern California during the height of COVID-19. The exhibition features over 30 landscapes, protest scenes, maps and botanical studies, created using Rodriguez’s hand-processed inks and watercolors, which she derived from plants and mineral pigments native to the region. Reflecting on how artists have responded to past pandemics and uprisings, Rodriguez’s series connects the conflicts of the past year, including the public health crisis and hotbeds of racial injustice, to age-old healing practices, both medicinal and creative. Sandy Rodriguez in isolation will be visible at The Carter from December 18, 2021 to April 17, 2022.

In the spring of 2020, as the scale of the pandemic became visible, Rodriguez began his residency as the first Alma Ruiz Fellow at Joshua Tree Highlands, located at the junction of the Mojave and Colorado Deserts. The rapid news cycle of rising COVID deaths and nationwide protests against police brutality made Rodriguez feel deeply connected to a lineage of artists who have translated historic conflicts through their job. In the slow monastic setting adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park, she turned to the vocabulary of the surrounding desert as a guide for her answer.

Contextualizing her ongoing investigation of painting methods and materials across cultures, she collected botanical specimens related to Nahua and Cahuilla healing practices for respiratory illnesses, which she then treated as hand-made paintings. with vegetable dyes and extracted mineral pigments. In the first seven weeks of her stay, she produced over 60 objects capturing both the natural and socio-political environment she experienced through studies of plant life, portraits, landscapes and maps that meditate on life in the desert in the midst of a pandemic. By exhibiting for the first time the works produced during his residency, alongside the materials used in his paintings and papers, Sandy Rodriguez in isolation illustrates the painter’s creation of channels to heal past and present traumas through the reclamation of indigenous knowledge systems.

“In keeping with Carter’s mission to connect the historical and contemporary narratives of American art, Rodriguez unites the past and the present, both through its subject matter and its material use, in a new body of premonitory and timeless works. “said Andrew J. Walker, Executive Director. “The museum is honored to use its rich methodological understanding of the paper medium to complement the expansive history of American creativity cataloged in our collection of works on paper.

At the intersection of social memory, contemporary politics and cultural production, Rodriguez’s work magnifies the ways in which knowledge – both personal and societal – is captured, shared and preserved. Focusing on language and the visual arts as documentation tools, she draws inspiration for her paintings from writings and documents from the colonial period, namely the Florentine Codex. Written by a Franciscan friar and Nahua scholars in the mid-16th century during a pandemic, the encyclopedic work records the history and practices of the indigenous cultures of central Mexico, as well as the flora and fauna found in the region, along with both Nahuatl and Spanish Text and over 2,000 ink and watercolor illustrations.

Exactly 500 years after the conquest, the works presented in Sandy Rodriguez in isolation activate this story by documenting Rodriguez’s midlife ecosystem – with annotations in Cahuilla, Spanish, Latin, and English – and amplifying indigenous knowledge about the medicinal and aesthetic significance of local plants and pigments. Further picking up on the history of pre-colonial art, the exhibition highlights Rodriguez’s use of amate paper, a symbol of Indigenous culture that, after being used for codices and works of art, was destroyed and banned under Spanish rule. Rodriguez’s works are painted on amate paper made from bark and spices, by a family of fifth generation Otomi papermakers in Puebla, Mexico.

“Rodriguez’s work is an astonishing synthesis of Chicana identity, ancestral iconography and techniques, and contemporary subjects,” said Maggie Adler, Curator of Paintings, Sculpture and Works on Paper at Carter. “She creates simply extraordinary works on paper, from the sophistication of the paper itself to its innovative use of historic handmade pigments, and continues to rise as a leader in the contemporary arts dialogue. the timely address of this exhibit of the year’s monumental events – as well as the museum’s recent acquisition of its large-scale watercolor map of sites along the U.S.-Mexico border where migrant children are dead in US custody – Rodriguez deeply enriches Carter’s engagement with some of the most pressing issues both within and beyond the artistic. “

Sandy Rodriguez in isolation is curated by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and curated by Adler. Illustrating Carter’s mission to tell new and important stories in American art, Sandy Rodriguez in Isolation is part of a year-long exhibition program celebrating the museum’s 60th year of collection, preservation and exhibition. of the best examples of American creativity.

Sandy Rodriguez (b.1975) is a Los Angeles-based painter raised on the California-Mexico border whose work investigates painting methods and materials across cultures and histories. His ongoing Codex Rodriguez-Mondragón series is a collection of maps and paintings exploring the intersections of history, social memory, contemporary politics, and cultural production. Rodriguez received his BFA from the California Institute of the Arts and recently received the Creative Capital Award 2021; the Caltech-Huntington Art + Research residency for 2021; and the first Alma Ruiz Artist Fellowship, Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency, through which the works featured in Sandy Rodriguez in Isolation were produced. Rodriguez has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego; Art + Practice, Los Angeles; and the Riverside Art Museum, among other institutions, and his works are currently held in the collections of JPMorgan Chase Art Collection, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles; and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.


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