Artist: Sheila Garrett Rodriguez
Exhibition: Were We Even Here
Media: Drawing, Painting, Embroidery, Media
Gallery: CSULB School of Arts, Max L. Gatov Gallery East
About the Artist:
Sheila Rodriguez is a graduate student at CSULB. Alumni to CSULB she received a Bachelor in Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting. Currently this is her last semester at CSULB as a graduate student finishing her master in Fine Arts with a focus on Fiber. Sheila Rodriguez grew up around her grandmother who was a significant figure in her life. Teaching and passing on her knowledge to Sheila in the arts of crocheting. Sheila amazing artworks incorporates many aspect of her culture and her daily influence, which is expressed in her exhibition Were We Even Here.
In the middle of the gallery a medium bed frame can be located in the center of room. Cochineal can be seen under the bed frame creating an outline under the bed. Along the wall are artworks with intricate embroidery of flowers on all the art pieces. Most of the artwork is created with pieces from actual interior parts of houses. For example pieces that are used is the drywall that are build within houses. Interior pieces such as personal furniture were also part of the artwork. Toward the back of the gallery is a large painting with a person back, a house, and flowers that were embroidered. To the left of the gallery in a separate room is a video of the usage of a mortal and pesto. The gallery creates an inviting atmosphere of a home representing the artist culture and identity.
Sheila Rodriguez want to address the houses she lived in in her past. A house can be an inanimate object, but it can relate to a person identity. The way a house is remodel and furniture is to the taste and identity of the person who own the house. Sheila wonders if all thirty houses she own are still in the shape she left them in. If any of her personal touches are still in existence in her old houses that she left. In the exhibition Were We Even Here focus on Sheila Chicana identity and her thirty houses she lived in. She incorporates familiar belonging from her grandmother into the exhibit and the crocheting into her artwork. The crocheting is a huge influence from her grandmother who had influenced her when she was younger. The part that stands out from the whole gallery is the video with the sound of the mortar hitting the pestle, which is the room off from the rest of the gallery. In that section of the gallery it represent a kitchen. To walk into a person kitchen can provide an insight on a person identity. Especially heritage and what the person may consider that is part of their home and identity.
When I enter a gallery I try to walk around to see what the gallery is composed of. Until I am done with every artwork in the gallery I would look at the artist exhibition information. I would try to understand what the artist is trying to convey to the audience and how my interpretation may relate to the artist and myself personally. I see many sentimental representation of family, culture, and the theme of a house. I can relate the artist theme of identity to my own house. The way I decorate my house to give it a touch of me. Every time I move to a new house I would always think back to the good memories of the previous house I lived in. The house can be personal part of a person intimate place, but it can offer an environment that can inviting for others. The exhibition Were We Even Here is an amazing gallery full of influences and inspiration that is worth every minute of understanding. Living in a place for a while than moving to a new place. Do we leave behind any landmark of our identity behind? I think in a way we do because it is possible to make an impact on every thing we do whether it is visible or not.