The Life and Work of Miguel Rodez
Eight women took over the visual space at Miguel Rodez Art Projects during the presentation of “A Woman’s Perspective.” No one could miss an impressive installation by Ana Maria Sarlat. Through it, she paid homage to the sacrifice that women make to ensure their family’s survival. Some, like her mother, risk it all to come to America and perform hard labor jobs to earn a living. Sarlat’s installation consisted of a large format, highly expressionistic, painting that suggests a woman’s figure bending over to pick something from rows of aggressive green strokes and splotches of red paint alluding to a Homestead tomato field. The canvas is overcome by muted tones suggesting a memory rather than a documental image. Her mother, who left a life of leisure in Cuba to flee political persecution, worked her once-manicured hands into red-tinged callouses, as she performed farm work in America to support her family. Sarlat’s canvas was stretched and affixed to the wall with organic material before actual rows of real flowering and fruiting tomato plants that took up nearly half of one of the rooms of the gallery space. Tomato perfume from the blooming plants permeated the gallery. Another impressive installation by Karen Schnell-Chisholm took up a hallway. Her contributions consisted of eight weavings that hung not flat against the wall but protruding from it as a color colonnade waiting to be traversed. Natacha Perdomo, an artist who had been dedicating herself to making amazing wearable art was inspired to creating larger more sculptural pieces for the show. Her contributions, ladened with precious and semiprecious stones and metals, hung prominently on one of the walls. Elsa Roberto’s edgy fine art photography of a brutally dramatic man made a memorable impression and was balanced by sensual, yet strong large format photographs by Meg Pukel. Astrid Alcayaga’s mixed media sculpture suggested that God is a woman, while Laura Luna’s bronze sculptures had women transitioning into a different dimension. Candida Rodriguez filled one of the gallery walls with two large paintings about relationships among women. Miguel Rodez reported that curating and dealing with the logistics for “A Woman’s Perspective” were a challenge, but the show, which took place on October 20, 2012, was among one of the most well-attended and among the most memorable at the gallery.