Displaying for the first time are new works by Jorge Luis Rodriguez. The Missing, Los Desaparecidos is a wall sculpture made out of papier mache with one hundred painted figures. The series presented by the West Harlem Art Fund on Governors Island for the exhibition Early Encounters, references Nature, history and the human condition. The constructed multiple modules using the technique of papier mâché and papier collé that intermix hand painted patterns onto human silhouettes. It pays homage to African and Native American ancestors who arrived to the Americas and for centuries have made significant contributions to our present society. It also speaks to the many who have perished or disappeared through time.
The creation of the Zebra Bird mobile –papier máché and acrylic paint– emerged from a whimsical interplay and transformation of majestic creatures of Nature extrapolated from my mixed ancestry. It alludes to the strength of diversity and resilience as one engages in a complex and multicultural society. It may well be a symbolic self portrait of the multiple attributes of my Native American, European and African ancestry.
The Musical Boxes is a series of wall reliefs that draw inspiration from the steel drums of Trinidad and Tobago, which was invented about the mid-20th century and traces its roots to the traditional African drumming of slaves and their descendants. The series was included in a collaborative installation during my residency with Charles Abramson and David Hammons at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1981. They are also designed to resonate to a specific pitch when struck by hand and can be part of a performance event with a skilled musician. I applied the welding technique to create the design of each steel musical box and later expanded the series to include additional wall reliefs made in ceramic with added color. Jorge Luis Rodriguez is an American educator, painter, sculptor, and mixed-media artist. Born in Puerto Rico. Rodriguez came to New York City when he was 19 years old to live with his father and brother, hoping to expand his technical training with a more experimental style. Rodriguez worked as a Junior Art Director before attending School of Visual Arts and New York University getting his Bachelor Degree and Masters in Fine Arts respectively.
Rodriguez’s work and style evolved over the years,spanning from op-art to abstraction and from two dimensional works to three dimensional sculptures and installations.
Jorge Luis Rodriguez Audio Interview