Park View is pleased to announce a solo presentation of new works by Mark A. Rodriguez at Paramount Ranch, opening Saturday, January 30 and running until January 31. Paramount Ranch is located at 2903 Cornell Road, Agoura Hills, California 91301. The hours of operation are 11am – 5pm daily, with a VIP preview on Saturday from 10 to 11am.
On the Ranch, Park View is located at Chin’s, the first building off to to the right of the entrance.
I see two sides to the production of these flowers. One is that flowers are naturally attractive to most everyone, and secondly they are fairly easy to render/stylize. This relationship between the ease of production and ease of understanding and appreciation is a great formula for ‘success’. –Mark A. Rodriguez
For Paramount Ranch, Mark A. Rodriguez (b. 1982, USA) has produced a new series of large-scale flower paintings that are based on commercial signage located outside of a flower shop in West Hollywood. Functioning like seductive graphic images, the original signage looks homemade and typical of something that would be meant to catch someone’s eye while passing quickly in his or her car – big, cute flowers. Rodriguez’s works are made in acrylic and enamel on cut wood board, and they are both wall-mounted and freestanding on steel and concrete armatures.
Some of the flowers are near-direct copies, and others are more stylized interpretations, containing gestural, painterly marks in watery or dry greens, pinks, blues, purples, and reds. So while some of the works are partially linked to artistic traditions of the copy, others are more “intuitive,” seeming more “artistic” or “inspired.” Functioning like still lifes of readymades, the works harness and intersect these two relationships to authorship, underscoring that connection with the metaphor of art as commercial display by utilizing imagery from everyday advertising from the street.
In a way, then, the flowers operate like logos for the artist’s overall works, with codified, gestural qualities in their rendering that reassert that formula. When art functions predominantly as advertising for itself, as Rodriguez suggests in his choice of content, what does it mean to possess or take ownership over an idea, image, or concept within one's artwork, within the span of the production of bodies of works, or within a "career"? The aspirational qualities contained in this way of working are dramatized by the flowers’ anthropomorphic faces, which look hungry for attention and visibility, staring out at their audience with somewhat deranged or psychotic gazes.
This form of strategy in an object's struggle for recognition is emphasized and undermined by the composition of Rodriguez’s works, which appear sleek, serial, and fabricated, but are in fact vernacular and handmade, with hastily drilled screws sometimes looking like mistakes in the flowers’ surfaces. This and his material choices bring to light the question of technique in art production, in particular the industrial production culture surrounding the artworld (water-jet cut, laser-cut, powder coated, polished metal, etc.), and how that has been influenced by and absorbed from fashion in design and architecture, which are in turn remnants of Finish Fetish and Minimalist traditions. The assumed need to incorporate industrial production, design, and materials into the evolution and scaling of a contemporary artistic career is called into question, in particular how that need can begin to drive the construction and conception of artworks themselves, erasing the distinction of contemporary artworks and their presentation from any other manufactured luxury good.
Mark A. Rodriguez (b. 1982) was born in Chicago, Illinois, and he lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his MFA from California College of the Arts, San Francisco, in 2006 and his BA from Beloit College, Wisconsin, in 2004. His works have been exhibited at Balice Hertling at the Film Center, New York; Park View, Los Angeles; 356 S. Mission Road, Los Angeles; Lisa Cooley, New York; Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles; Night Gallery, Los Angeles; Public Fiction, Los Angeles; 5 Car Garage, Los Angeles; and the Berkeley Art Museum, among others.
2903 Cornell Road
Agoura Hills, California 91301