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Almudena Rodriguez: When Craft & Culture Meet

On view from September 5 through October 31, 2017, the work of Almudena Rodriguez is a clear-sighted look at our current time and place. It’s also a celebration of craft and mixed media. Having lived in Spain, Mexico and the United States, Rodriguez shares our fascination with the cross-cultural pollination of ideas and materials. In particular, she points to Mexico’s “complexity and contradictions” as “an endless source of stimuli.” In her paintings, comics, religious iconography, and mass media populate “a world in which self-perception is determined by movies and publicity.”

almu-estudio

Almudena Rodriguez in her Studio

All these works are part of the series of paintings in which I analyze what is known as the “Pygmalion Effect,” applied in this case to the narrative of the artistic work. How we can influence or determine the viewer’s perception through art? Is that really possible? I’m interested in this subject because it’s based on ambiguity. My work proposes both positive and negative results in its application.

Almudena Rodriguez. Pygmalion Effect XVII. 2015 Acrylic on hand sewn fabrics. 42" x 50" $6,600

Almudena Rodriguez. Pygmalion Effect XVII. 2015 Acrylic on hand sewn fabrics. 42″ x 50″ $6,880

In the “Pygmalion Effect,” Rodriguez explores the popular psychological idea that greater expectations lead to better performance, questioning how an artist can influence the viewer’s perception. In mixed media on fabric, the paintings layer images and messages ranging from comic-book heroes to abstract splashes and splatters, asking the viewer to stretch their understanding of style, meaning and perception.

Almudena Rodriguez. Pygmalion Effect XVIII. Sexual reproduction by fragmentation in plants. 2016 Acrylic and wool embroidered on hand-sewn fabrics. 50.3" x 70.8" $8,400

Almudena Rodriguez. Pygmalion Effect XVIII. Sexual reproduction by fragmentation in plants. 2016 Acrylic and wool embroidered on hand-sewn fabrics. 50.3″ x 70.8″ $7,880

Characters from comics, as those from mythology of the past, are our idols of today—references of our time. My characters find themselves in a world in which self-perception is determined by movies and publicity, as hidden economic interests, instead of being determined by art or thinking. From an attitude of irony, sarcasm and jeer, my intention is to reflect on this absurdity.

Almudena Rodriguez. Pygmalion Effect IV. 2014 Acrylic, aniline, ink, watercolor, embroidery on amate paper. 15.5" x 23.5" $2,200

Almudena Rodriguez. Pygmalion Effect IV. 2014 Acrylic, aniline, ink, watercolor, embroidery on amate paper. 15.5″ x 23.5″ $2,380

At times, Rodriguez’s visual vocabulary reaches beyond pop culture references into classical Italian art history. Her work often references 17th-century Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, as well as Renaissance drawings. By exploring the history of pictorial language, Rodriguez links modernity to tradition.

Almudena Rodriguez. Pygmalion Effect VI. 2014. Acrylic, aniline, ink, watercolor, enamel and embroidery on amate paper. 15.5" x 23.5" $2,200

Almudena Rodriguez. Pygmalion Effect VI. 2014. Acrylic, aniline, ink, watercolor, enamel and embroidery on amate paper. 15.5″ x 23.5″ $2,280

Works on paper combine acrylic, aniline, ink, watercolor, enamel and embroidered thread on amate paper. Made from tree bark, amate paper is thousands of years old, and was once used by indigenous cultures in Mesoamerica to create early handwritten books.

Almudena Rodriguez. Pygmalion Effect V. 2014 Acrylic, aniline, ink and watercolor on amate paper. 15.5″ x 23.5″ $2,200

Almudena Rodriguez. Pygmalion Effect V. 2014 Acrylic, aniline, ink and watercolor on amate paper. 15.5″ x 23.5″ $2,280

A master of mixed media, Rodriguez works with multiple fabrics, paints and papers, using different surfaces to layer images and patterns, from comic illustrations to military camouflage.

Almudena Rodriguez. Pygmalion Effect XIX. 2016 Acrylic on hand-sewn fabrics. 55" x 78" $8,400

Almudena Rodriguez. Pygmalion Effect XIX. 2016 Acrylic on hand-sewn fabrics. 55″ x 78″ $8,280

In my paintings the canvas and the white cloth disappear. Materials are sewn together—artificially forming a kind of map on which I re-arrange what I have experienced and observed: my own vision. The delicacy of the fabrics is an important part of the work. They have different tactile qualities, and that’s the initial way I conceive the piece.

Almudena Rodriguez. Pygmalion Effect XX. 2016 Acrylic on hand-sewn fabrics, 55" x 70" $8,400

Almudena Rodriguez. Pygmalion Effect XX. 2016 Acrylic on hand-sewn fabrics, 55″ x 70″ $8,280

Material inspiration for much of the work dates back to 2001 to 2004, when Rodriguez lived and spent time in Mexico.

Almudena Rodriguez. Pygmalion Effect XXII. 2017 Acrylic, aniline, ink, watercolor, enamel and embroidery on paper. 15.5" x 23.5" $2,000

Almudena Rodriguez. Pygmalion Effect XXII. 2017 Acrylic, aniline, ink, watercolor, enamel and embroidery on paper. 15.5″ x 23.5″ $2,280

From a visual point of view, Mexico is an endless source of stimuli. It has enriched my iconography and my interest in searching for syncretism with my European references. Contact with Mexican Ex-Votos (religious offerings) originally led me to introduce texts into the works.

process

Almudena Rodriguez Working in her Studio

To see the richly layered work of Almudena Rodriguez in person, visit the PAGODA RED Gallery.

Almudena Rodriguez

b. 1969, Madrid, Spain

EDUCATION
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

SELECT EXHIBITIONS

2017

  • Spanish Embassy & Cervantes Institute, Belgrade, Serbia
  • Current: Pagoda Red, Chicago, USA

2016

  • Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, USA
  • Palacio de los Condes de Gabia, Granada, Spain

2015

  • Galeria Finestra Estudio, Zaragoza, Spain
  • Ann Nathan Gallery, Chicago, USA

2014

  • Adães Bermudes Space, Alvito, Portugal
  • Ann Nathan Gallery, Chicago, USA
  • Melissa Morgan Fine Art, Palm Desert, California, USA

2013

  • Galería Félix Gómez, Sevilla, Spain
  • Ann Nathan Gallery, Chicago, USA

2012

  • Cervantes Institute: Sofia, Bulgaria; Belgrade, Serbia; Algiers, Algeria; Rome, Italy; Toulouse, France
  • Centro de Historias, Zaragoza, Spain
  • Finestra Gallery, Zaragoza, Spain
  • Hat Gallery, Valencia, Spain
  • Ann Nathan Gallery, Chicago, USA

2011

  • Cervantes Institute: Madrid, Spain; Amman, Jordan; Beirut, Lebanon; Cairo, Egypt; Bordeaux, France; Lisbon, Portugal
  • Hat Gallery, Valencia, Spain
  • Ann Nathan Gallery, Chicago, USA

2009

  • Contemporánea Gallery, Granada, Spain

2008

  • Concello de Cambre Painters Award, Coruña, Spain

2007

  • Artificial Gallery, London, UK
  • Mexican Institute, Mexican Embassy, Madrid, Spain
  • Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Spain

2005

  • Civil Maritime Museum, Santander, Spain

2004

  • Miami Art Gallery, Miami, Florida, USA

2003

  • ARCO, Arte Periferica Gallery, Lisboa, Madrid, Spain
  • ART MIAMI, Miami Art Gallery, Florida, USA
  • Institute of Mexico, San Antonio, Texas, USA
  • Heroes Peripheral Art Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal

2002

  • Catálogo General Gallery, Bilbao, Spain
  • Contemporánea Gallery, Granada, Spain
  • 2nd Royal Premier International Painters Award, Torremolinos, Malaga, Spain

2001

  • Sebastian Foundation, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Regium Garage Gallery, Madrid, Spain
  • Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Universidad de Castilla la Mancha, Cuenca, Spain
  • Hondarribia Fellows, Hondarribia, Guipúzcoa, Spain
  • Contemporánea Gallery, Granada, Spain

2000

  • Museo de la Ciudad, Madrid, Spain
  • Capilla del Oidor, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
  • Contemporánea Gallery, Granada, Spain

Hero Image: Almudena Rodriguez. Pygmalion Effect XV. 2015 Acrylic on hand sewn fabrics. 41″ x 50″ $6,200

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