Artist Sandy Rodriguez recent appearance in Walter Maciel Gallery's group show, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, gave her burning Los Angeles landscapes, combined with a previous installation of helicopters hovering over, more exposure. The city burning while under surveillance was on tour.
Her landscapes with ‘copters first appeared in the small Echo Park Underground Gallery, where if you met Rodriguez in person you would have seen eyes that watch everything with broad peripheral vision, seeking a way to connect or respond to a presence.
By keeping a conversation moving with intellectual fury, lock and loaded with charismatic clip and quips that shoot holes in any previous description of what role a Chicana artist should be playing, she becomes a part of a life long narrative that extends from three generations of female artists in her family.
Her work that has been on display in various venues this past year, and could change how the iconic wild fire is seen. The brush fires in the Hollywood Hills almost a year ago was covered in detail by bloggers living around Downtown, Silver Lake and Echo Park. The Los Angeles Times took notice and made it a supplemental story to fire coverage, writing how today's communication is "changing the way we view events." By the time the May 8th Griffith Park fire broke, the LA Times covered it on their own blog.
It was then when Rodriguez was glued to the TV and the fire, close to her own home, became an art subject. The landscape burned, and rather than photos, television was as live visual source; technology came further into play to develop content.
That tradition of Chicano Art being site-specific, telling the stories of a landscape and the people, is the tradition that Rodriguez strides for as a Chicana Artist and educator who holds a BFA from Cal Arts (97). Raised in San Diego, Tijuana and Los Angeles, her installations and paintings are strongly influenced by the interpretation of current issues of assembled culture.
When asked how this fits in the traditional content of Chicano art, Rodriguez replied "Who are the people who live nearby?"
With that, Rodriguez declares that the neighborhoods north of Sunset shared the experience of a oncoming threat that can change the landscape by force in several forms; gentrification, Latino takeover, or a burning hill so close to home.
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©2007 Sandy Rodriguez
Images Courtesy of Sandy Rodriquez