Team Gallery is pleased to present a solo show of new sculptures by Miami-based artist Cristina Lei Rodriguez. The exhibition, entitled Through Excess and Ruin, will run from November 3rd through December 23rd, 2011. Team Gallery is located at 47 Wooster Street, between Grand and Broome, on the ground floor. Concurrently, our 83 Grand Street space will house a collaborative exhibition by New York-based artist Cory Arcangel and Brussels-based, French artist Pierre Bismuth.
Cristina Lei Rodriguez’s sculptural forms are abstract objects that echo the coupled narratives of decadence and ruin. Although the natural processes of growth and decay have been the operative thematic in all of her work, lately the artist has veered away from nature and towards cultural constructions of uncertainty and instability. In her latest pieces, the materials are shaped with critical attention to the extensive gluttony and unapologetic glamour that accompany contemporary capitalism: the consolidated accumulations of wealth, the global economic recession, the persistent fluctuation of value, and the threats of total systemic collapse.
Rodriguez uses paper, plastic, plaster, and paint, along with pedestals built out of wood, aluminum, and Plexiglas. Her sculptures are churning, gestural forms, creasing and folding over themselves or jutting severely outwards. The surfaces, covered in thick, textural paint are richly detailed and varied, rippled in patches and smooth in others. The tonal range of these new works consists largely of blacks and greys, with contrasting washes of deep blues and reds.
Rodriguez shapes her materials by crumpling, twisting, and crushing them — inverse constructive acts of destruction and decomposition. Often she breaks her forms to the brink of sheer ruination in a strategic attempt to then resurrect a distinct anatomy. Rodriguez often titles the pieces with verbs, denoting the necessary role of her spirited actions in their creation. Her processes of affecting and layering endow each work with a readable personal history, like that of a tree or a body: things in nature that grow, age, and die. Through entropic compositions, Rodriguez achieves a formal elegance which conveys refined corporeal experience.
The direct relationship between excess and decay is particularly strong in Black Landscape II, where a vague shape — swollen and sharp in some areas and sagging in others — overlaid with shiny tar-like paint, emerges from a bed of accumulated gold accessories. Her painted structures descend into, drip onto, and desecrate traditional modernist pedestals. In Retreat, the exaggerated painterly gestures of drips, strokes, and splashes are spread radically between object and plinth. Rodriguez’s rugged physical work stands in relationship to the battered automotive effigies of John Chamberlain, the process-driven folded felt pieces of Robert Morris, the architectural painting installations of Jessica Stockholder, and the bricolage clusters of Isa Genzken.
Rodriguez’s work has been exhibited in numerous gallery and museum exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad, including the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami; the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; Serpentine Gallery, London; Reykjavik Art Museum; and the 2nd Athens Biennale. This is her second show with Team.