Challenging gender norms, Rodriguez explores themes of love, femininity, what it means to be vulnerable and how we ascribe desire in relationships through the symbolic objects. As abjects of desire, these paintings and sculptures illustrate that desire and love are not always born of happiness, but can emerge from bad experiences and are shaped by mass media and culture. Challenging gender norms, Rodriguez explores themes of love, femininity, what it means to be vulnerable and how we ascribe desire in relationships through the symbolic objects. As abjects of desire, these paintings and sculptures illustrate that desire and love are not always born of happiness, but can emerge from bad experiences and are shaped by mass media and culture.
This series of work examines traditions, objects of ritual, decorative traditions, womanhood, and the psychology of love and loss. As a first generation Mexican-American, Rodriguez was inspired by watching Novelas in the 80s’ and the theme of love that they all shared. The protagonist heroine always depended on the reciprocated love of her man to recognize her self worth, and to gain stature in society. Regardless of the story, the heroine was not complete if she did not have her (MAN) by the end of the story. As a young girl in Los Angeles, Rodriguez’s interpretation of romantic love was taught by these Novelas and by the traditional norms growing up in a devoutly Catholic household.
Rodriguez comments that “The ridicule that I receive as a single woman who is 38 , unmarried and, childless influenced my interpretation and making of this body of work because I found myself finding humor in objects that are usually given in order to show that we are loved.”
The series of work includes funeral floral arrangements, bows for presents, and heart shaped sculptures. Rodriguez showcases her infamous neon palette in a mixture of texture and patterns - stripes, polka dots, leaves, laurels, swirls and drips. In addition to the psychological investigation, Rodriguez also speaks to the decorative traditions that are evident in the home like, floral arrangements, pattern and decoration, and the relationship through color in terms of class and the politics of kitsch versus high-end.
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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 that combine brightly colored gesture/cakelike batter against the decorative. The play between smells is something that the intrigues the Artist as well. Ana Rodriguez earned a BFA from California State University, Long Beach (2007) and an MFA from Otis College of Art and Design (2009).