Cole James & Ana Rodriguez
September 12 - October 3, 2015
Saturday, September 12, 6 - 9pm
RSVP essential to [email protected]
:: Guest list at the door ::
Wednesday - Saturday, 12 - 6pm
170 S. La Brea Ave., upstairs
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Both James and Rodriguez exhibit an intuitive understanding of colour and contrast as stimuli for deep and elemental emotional resonance. The main distinction in their works however, lies in where they draw these colours from: James’ colours are lusciously botanical, ranging from bark browns to bruised plum purples and at times accented by stunningly bright floral shades, while Rodriguez takes this brightness to an almost toxic extreme, feeding on memories of growing up in a community hemmed in by chemical plants, factories and industrial bakeries. The patterns and cheerful colours of prized childhood possessions also feature, mingling with brasher shades of wallpaper, fabrics and flooring.
In James’ paintings, these colours accent the already biological appearance of her structures, giving the impression of intricate branching floral arrangements – curiously marked by an absence of a central trunk, stem or root system. In Rodriguez’s paintings, radiant neons communicate a sense of irreverence, a fascination with the cloying sweetness of manufactured culture and synthetic food-stuffs dyed with artificial colours.
James utilizes her viewer’s emotional and cultural associations to certain materials and textures as visual guide through the complexity and fluid nature of identity. Glitter, rubber, resin, tar, sand, paper and satin are melded together, each ingredient impinging on the perception of the whole. The history of these materials also play a role, serving as a gateway to explore everything from consumerism to sexuality’s central role in defining and shaping identity.
Rodriguez is fuelled by different motivations: through her works she taps into a sense of place, bringing to light all its smells – of spice factories and coffee roasteries mingling with the scent of death wafting from mechanized slaughterhouses. Rather than slavishly paying homage to reality however, she conjures a deeply personal world, both at once nostalgic and escapist – suffused with traces of her youthful fascination with the exotic landscapes and magical adventures of the Tales of the Arabian Nights.
In accordance with the show’s title, both James and Rodriguez present works that ensnare the viewer and elicit the careful consideration required to break through the surface and to touch the substance that lies beneath.
The work of Cole James articulates and examines the presence of an ever-changing sub-cultural divergence by combining abstracted imagery from nature with the faux finish of pop culture. She uses violent natural events that occur in trees as a metonymy for her own experiences as a queer woman of color. James attended Claremont Graduate University receiving an MFA in 2010.
She was awarded the Alfred B. Friedman Grant, Walker Parker Artist Fellowship, and Mignon Schweitzer Award. Recent exhibitions include Wayward curated by LA Times Art Critic David Pagel, Fusion Miami, Retrospective of artist in the African Diaspora, solo exhibition at the Robert V Fullerton Museum, and group exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, and Korea. James works and lives in Los Angeles CA.
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Ana Rodriguez grew up in the small community of Maywood, California, which is adjacent to the industrial cities of Commerce and Vernon and their numerous chemical plants, refineries, public waste areas and foundries.
Rodriguez recalls being highly aware of the contrast between the putrid, foul smell of dead animals from the meat packaging factories like Farmer John and the sweet scents from bakeries (Sara Lee) and cake shops from her city. Rodriguez combines patterns that range from kitchen cabinet liners, linoleum flooring, wallpaper, and fabric from her toys and clothes as a child. The mix of sources is reflected in Rodriguez's paintings which combine brightly colored gesture/cake-like batter against the decorative and the play between smells is something that the Artist is really intrigued by.
Ana Rodriguez earned a BFA from California State University, Long Beach (2007) and an MFA from Otis College of Art and Design (2009).