"Le vesti dell' anima: The space between..."
In Consuelo Rodriguez's artwork she combines quartz dust, sand, iron oxide, gold, lava and textiles with colour: in an alchemy of materials and gestures she gives form and life to her inner visions. In her works, the depictions of female and occasionally male bodies appear from the depths of a distant but strongly present memory, in alternation with various suggestions in which desire, hope, the painfulness of one's own acceptance are permeated by feelings. Now, Consuelo Rodriguez, painter, sculptor and poet from Trieste, is presenting a new series of works at the exhibition "Le vesti dell'anima: the space between...", which opens tonight at 6.30 p.m. at the Lux Art Gallery in Via Rittmeyer, with a presentation by Darius Bork, Director of the Freie Museum in Berlin, in anticipation of a scholarship that will take her to Beijing.
Rodriguez studied at the Scuola Libera di Figura with the Maestro Nino Perizi in Trieste and then deepened her knowledge at the School of Visual Arts in New York and at the Kunstakademie Salzburg with the Spanish hyperrealist artist I. Quintailla and the Viennese actionist H. Nitsch. In Chicago Rodriguez had the opportunity to work on large formats with the Zhou Brothers.
In the exhibition that opens today, the large-format works present themselves with a strong new expressiveness: a series of black canvases is the introduction to what comes next. The dissection, the erasure of the bodies, to refer instead to the clothing: a clothing that in turn refers to the soul. The bright light returns, the white already protagonist of many of her works, mixed with fabrics, nets, various colored materials to give something invisible and heavy plasticity and depth: "In these last works my interest has shifted to the human essence, to the soul. I wanted to express its invisibility, but also its colour, movement, diversity, with the motif of the clothing - says Consuelo Rodriguez - "The space in between...", as the title of the exhibition says, is to point out that the indefinable space in us, as fundamental as the silence between two notes, which gives life and makes the work unique, in this case the human being.
The works will be accompanied by verses from "Tatoo", the artist's new poetry collection, which will be presented at the finissage on Monday, January 9.
"Le vesti dell' anima: The space between..."
I have known the artist Consuelo Rodriguez for almost two years. At the time, both of us were invited to a mushroom and truffle tasting in Stridone by our mutual friend, the gallerist Giorgio Parovel, and we immediately got along very well.
Consuelo is an extremely positive person and full of joy of living. From her passionate temperament it is certainly possible to recognize her Spanish origins, but she is still Italian, elegant and noble.
This fusion of her personalities also emerges through her art.
In her early works she clearly captures the wild nature, thanks to the choice of colors and the stroke of the brush, but also the sensitivity and elevation from the way of outlining the faces.
From the very beginning I have associated her with contemporary Spanish artist Menendez-Rojas, as well as with the Italian Modigliani, who is certainly one of Rodriguez's great role models.
It is not my intention, however, to make comparisons in the field of art history, nor to label.
In the past, the bodies of her figures were expressed in baroque forms and with earthy colours. Her current works, on the other hand, are more abstract and reduced... we could also say more concentrated on the essentiality of form, colour and composition. The element linked to materiality should also be considered. From the very beginning, the works allowed a three-dimensionality of their own to emerge. In her latest work, this year, Rodriguez goes even further, working the material almost as if in a collage, thus reaching a completely new dimension of depth.
The images now almost reach abstraction and the shapes of the bodies can barely be guessed at, something that in my opinion testifies to an important artistic evolution.
I think that every painting in this series can be compared to a precious solitaire and that's how every work is also presented in the exhibition.
Reduction rather than abundance, concentration rather than dispersion... The evidence of expressive capacity and the complete freedom offered to the imagination allow the observer to arrive at his own interpretations, which is why the artist herself, in this exhibition, consciously renounces the choice of titles.
The images are accompanied in textual form only by some verses from her new collection of poems, TATTOO, thus giving the visitor the opportunity to enter more deeply into the artist's world.
Curator of the exhibition
Consuelo Rodriguez's painting is part of an 'open path' in which the colour - largely disfigured by the perimeter sign of the charcoal - tries to give an answer to the floods of the bodies/members as we see in her works.
Almost always, the artist's canvases open up to an interesting synthetic solution of monochrome colour. In fact, each of her works is marked by a tonal monochrome of a scalar type that characterizes her: SOGNO CONCRETO (2013) with burnt earths; NON SENZA DI TE (2013) with violet; ANIME IN COLORE (2013) with quartz powders that exalt ochre and orange; INSIEME NOI (2013) with a strong game of vibrant and veiling reds.
An interesting figurative research, the one proposed by Rodriguez, which is oriented in displacing the ordinary way of seeing, enjoying and experimenting with a 'any body’.
By dematerializing the body, in fact, the artist arrives at two stages of learning and tracing; in which one can find a representability that finds a dichotomy between the syntheses: 'post constructivist' (simplicity of form) and 'post humanistic' (actor's and stage postures)’.
A centrifugal contortionism that certainly causes field waves, roundness masked by the idea of emptying the physiognomic traits to create figures, phantasms, free bodies that only have to speak, love and feel with a 'soft manierated gesture'; this last heir - in my opinion - of a research on the 'immaterial body' started, in the artistic historiography of the twentieth century, with two important people: Egon Schiele (1890-1918) with the Schielian style; Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980) with his compositional lyricism.
Finally, Rodriguez denies the face and its somatic features: creating a 'hierarchy of the profane' angels living in different times, overlapping dimensions; all elements that go beyond the generally recognized sacred iconography.
Her pictorial language is a ritual with which the artist seems to resurrect the Venus of Willendorf and other angelic and Dionysian figures by means of research into anthropomorphic abstraction; all this to express the struggles of life, which human beings divide between good and evil: cathartic function of joy and suffering.
Venice, 26 March 2016
Not without you
Some artists have the gift of being able to express themselves with words and images, explaining their thought both on the side of listening and on the one of vision.
This is the case of Consuelo Rodriguez, who knows that words are important to spread a message but it is image that gets straight to touch the emotional side by talking to the eyes. And she is placid and "romantic" in her poems as well as she is strong, sharp and instinctive in her paintings.
The exposition displayed by Rodriguez and entitled "Not without you" is a selection of about thirty paintings realised in the recent years whose visions are windows on an inside world, visual stories that inspire a reflection on the sense of existence and on the importance of encounters. The choice of colouring materials (sand, iron and quartz powder, volcanic ash from Etna and several acrylics and pigments) reveals in advance the expressive language of her painting: strong, gestural and sharpened by the application, with spatula, of various colour layers based on an essential colour scale, which prefers red, ocher, grey and blue.
The represented subjects are always men and women with no connotation, provided with statuesque plasticity, floating in the painted background, almost seeming to trespass the borders of the canvas: the figures are outlined by colours and the apparent absence of a prior drawing creates a dream atmosphere that makes recognizability due to thin emotional allusions which arise from the artist's lyrical inspiration. The line always appears melodic, even though the artist happens to intervene with chalk lines to highlight emotional intensity. There is no reference to everyday objects: the scene is entirely devolved to weightless bodies moving in an atemporal space, with a vitality that turns into an allusive game, in a perfect composition of planes and in a careful dosing of light and dark.
The artist's attention is not paid to details nor to verisimilitude: it is focused on the act of painting itself, of digging in the canvas in search of memories, balancing fascination and narration, and being revealed in the drawing rhythm which creates figures starting from the background, taking shape in order to wonder and ask.
In this society (so-called modern), a society on a collision course since it based on a distorted use of rationality, Consuelo Rodriguez can turn thought into pictorial gesture, creating frames of dreams, showings of reflections, feelings of captivation, moving the horizon line which separates subject and object, thought and action: she recognizes in mystery and sensuality the supplies to face the winding path of sensitivity, looking at new doors opening on inside worlds and different paths which lead to the encounter of souls refusing superficiality and trivialization.
Certainly, Rodriguez looks upsetting, both on the intellectual and on the emotional side, but her art gives new life to the images of a body becoming dream, as the soul seems to move away from corporeality, presaging the possibility of the existence of that "twin" we have, that twin who lives a life entirely different from the one the body leads, reminding us how impossible it is to divide the world into subjects and objects, as well as it impossible to achieve deterministic descriptions of sensitivity.
In the latest months, after a trip to Germany, Rodriguez has added gold to her traditional palette, and she has overturned the proportion of her works, leaving the vertical for the horizontal setting: an additional disclosure, open wide - and underlined by red filaments - on new levels of breaking with constraint, conferring vision upon her life experience, where the tension between being and existing becomes a point of encounter as well as collision of two tensions.
Creative expressiveness, sign and colouristic, remains a point of encounter for souls, a personal journey starting from metamorphic femininity and setting free in recognizing love and loves, spiritual messengers as well as life mentors, sometimes fascinating, some other times severe, but always so indispensable to cry out - anyway - "not without you", as the exhibition is entitled.
Anima in sogno
Her vision is based on a strong, dense, suffered painting.
An inner evolution which started when she was very young and which has led Consuelo Rodriguez to create a pondered and deeply felt language of expression which alternates between calm and profound written words and instructive gestural expressiviness of painting.
Colours is the distinctive mark in her work: overlapping colour layers in large paddle strokes with a variety of tones that range from warm browns to light blues, blues, pinks which then returm to the warmth and sensuosness of reds; such an unprecendeted deep and dense colour gives to paintings like La femme folle 2007 or Sensualità del diavolo/ The devil's sensualitiy 2007 a meaning that goes beyond the subjects matter of the painting withuot moulding shapes but forming an impasto which projects us into Consuelo Rodriguez inner world.
Rodriguez delves into the canvass as if it were her memories she delves into depth of herself to recapture the roots of her emotions, in her pursuit of a recollection.
Thus, from these dense depths in relef, figures struggle to take form, apparitions from a never forgotten elsewhere which are ambigous and vague at first, but which then become increasingly palpable when the artist intervenes dierctly and outlines them with black charcoal, thus further highlighting the intensity of her emotions.
These are moments of intimate partecipation in which figures seem to be blocked in a suspended moment, awaiting judgment (Conoscersi quanto?/ Know each other, to what extyent? 2006 , Il sospetto / The Suspect 2007) or frames of a dream, projections of an intense desire like in Gli amanti the lovers 2007 where the feeling of bodly and spiritural involvment is absolute and further emphasized by the crimson paddle strokes.
Men and women have no distinctive traits for the artist, they are messengers of a highly imaginative world between life and death, bearers of universal messages based on profound truths. Bodies are welghtless drifting in a timeless space stretching and twisting they are alive.
Then, when Consulo Rodriguez does not outlne her figures with charcoal and leaves her paintings free of limits and graphics contraists, then there is the turnming point an impontant chenge a step towards pictorial maturity.
It is a illusive game of merging palnes based on a strong resolute chromatic vision which gives dynamism and movement to the new compositions, like Volutta /Voluptuousness 2007 or Vento / Wind 2007 or even La madre/ The Mother 2007 which recalls some solutions of the beginning of 1900 and is therefore maybe the most narrative painting in this exbitions devoted to the artist.
In fuga /On the run 2007 represents perhaps the point of arrival in ths new pictorial phase: bodies are now feed of any constraint and seem to be lauinched into space, their dynamism pushes them out of the canvass while the skilful use of the chiaroscuros confers the right balance between full and empty spaces to the composition, the woman's body illuminated by dense white brush strokes seems to be distorted by the running while the man left the shade seems to vanish in the background like an increasingly distant memory.
Nothing to be added, each element is in harmony, nothing is left to chance. An intruiging and fascinating painting, captivating for the skilful control of planes, masses and light which enable Consuelo Rodriguez to reach the right pictorial balance between narrative and fascination.
La danza nostra danza/ tra la vita e a morte / noi così in bilico / tra prigioni di ghiaccio e cancelle infuocati... (The dance/ Our dance / between lilfe and death/ we are suspended / between ice prisons and burning gates) are a few lines from a new poem composed at the same time of the recent paintings which confirm the indissoluble tie between thought and action.
traduzione di Gabriella Nocentini