Flatlanders Art Galleries proudly presents a solo exhibition by Arturo Rodriguez. The exhibition is free of charge and will be open to the public from August 29th to October 15th, 2004. An opening reception is planned for Sunday, August 29th to 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Don't miss the other solo exhibitions also being held in Flatlanders' other gallery spaces.
Arturo Rodriguez' work deals with the particular issues that arise from a separation through exile. Although he was born on the island of Cuba, referring to himself, as a "Cuban" is a label that Arturo Rodriguez doesn't feel comfortable with. His memories of Cuba are those of a young boy. He and his mother left the island during the Mariel boatlift in 1980. "American" is a term that he feels does not fit him either, even though he has been living in the US for over 20 years.
"In my more recent works I question the idea of being in exile. I like to take images from paintings that one might find on the walls of the "average American home", and combine them with some of my earliest visual memories about America: cartoons. For me this way of working is akin to culture in Cuba itself and to a lesser degree Cuban-American life in Miami. My culture has historically undergone a process of appropriation connected with a long tradition of attempts to integrate imported influences with the surrounding reality. From the Afro-Cuban component of its history, to the Spanish-Catholic heritage and finally the incredible influence of its closest neighbor the US. Cuba has undergone the process of appropriation in a particularly powerful way.
In working with this disparate visual imagery, I become aware of the compositional problems inherent when working with two distinct visual realities The comical nature of my recent works is not only a device to attract the viewer, but is a reminder of what a wonderfully absurd place the world can be. By combining these seemingly eclectic images I place them in a unique context that elevates their status from kitsch to fine art."
He is currently the Director of the Printmaking Department at the University of Toledo, Ohio USA. Mr. Rodriguez has had numerous exhibitions nationally and abroad. He holds a Bachelors Degree of Fine Arts in painting and printmaking from the Kansas City Art Institute, and holds a Masters Degree in Fine Arts from Indiana University, Bloomington.