You might sleep, but you will never dream. Image courtesy of David Castillo Gallery.
This coming Saturday (Second Saturday Art Walk) David Castillo Gallery will present You might sleep, but you will never dream, a contemplative exhibition by Miami based contemporary artist Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova.
In the exhibition Rodriguez will represent a room using a number of familiar, yet owing to their unconventional configuration, disparate objects. In their isolation each fractured component aims to affect our individual consideration of it, and by association ourselves, like a hall of mirrors reflecting a shared domestic consciousness.
Here follows an interview with the artist on the subject of his upcoming show:
This is your second solo show with the gallery. How has your work developed since your first?
Although I’m still working with a vocabulary of house hold domestic objects and suburban architectural elements as a visual language addressing issues of our social, cultural and emotional existence, I think I’ve been pulling back even more from specific ethnic references in order to open-up my language a bit more. However, I do feel it is important not to loose sight of the specifically personal components of the work as it develops. If this is lost, you’ve got nothing. So in a way, this show differs in its distance from the ethnic and it’s slight embrace of a more universal domestic vocabulary. The exhibition does have a very personal undercurrent in which it poses questions about our mortality as an exercise in coming to terms with the passing of my father last year. Something I feel is often lacking in art these days.
You succeed in speaking to this common understanding of domestic and suburban elements, however, recently you appear to be creating works that serve less as objects evocative of a general sense of class and more as page markers for specific memories within a general class context – A Displaced Door Knob versus A Night Light for example suggests an emergence of a directed sense of nostalgia – is this in fact correct?
You may be correct and it may be a symptom of the distance I refer to above. I also think that as time goes by things fluctuate or evolve as one reacts to circumstance; although, there have always been nostalgic elements at work in my practice. I can see how you infer the nostalgic in A Night Light (2009), but in my opinion you may be able to say the same about the door-knob. For example, the gold finish in the door-knob is directly linked to a nostalgic aspect of my history, possibly more than A Night Light (2009). A Night Light (2009) is actually one of the works in the wake of my fathers passing that began this dialogue with mortality. It came out of a visit to my mother’s house where I saw this night light in the hallway and it just sparked this idea of desolation that broke my heart. In a way A Night Light (2009) is the perfect connection to the “void” in the works that use black plexi-glass.
Can you discuss the presence of Post-minimalist concerns in your recent work?
As with most of the artists who fall into this Post-minimalist category, my interest in using Minimalism as a starting point for my practice stems from a belief in simple moments of reflection and the importance of authentic materials. I think a lot about how an object really functions and exists in the world, the process by which an object is made, the context in which an object exists or is used, and ultimately how it relates to me and my history. All of this only begins the dialogue, but does not include the relations made once the object is re-contextualized into a piece. You could say that I find that the Minimalist concerns help to simplify the work formally so that the conceptual qualities can flourish with no distractions. Take the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres for example, his work succeeds in the same way. Whether it’s a blue curtain or the beads, he strips away visual clutter and clearly employs Minimalist tactics to allow the essence of the object to come though. That is powerful.
On the subject of your running theme of inaccessibility and self awareness, are you speaking in terms of a melancholic sense of lost time and/or opportunity or simply sourcing evocative subject matter to communicate a separate concern concerning barriers? And in regard to the psychology behind your use of inaccessibility (and also reflection), are you commenting on an area of life that we are simply reluctant to connect with or rather that we are unable to connect with?
I would say this subject matter of inaccessibility exists on both plains. There is this sense of lost or denied opportunity in terms of a particular social class. But, I also think this general idea of barriers is present and relates back to the denied opportunities. In regard to the psychology of my use of inaccessibility, I feel it speaks more about an aspect of life that we are reluctant to connect with more so than the inability to connect. I believe we are all capable of engaging this matter, but I think people, especially in this country, seem to prefer to look the other way. I feel I am engaging it through my practice if through no other means and I like that[.]
Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova lives and works in Miami, and has exhibited nationally and internationally. His work has been featured in publications such as Art in America, ARTnews, and Sculpture Magazine. The artist has recently exhibited at Socrates Sculpture Park and the Sculpture Center in New York, among many other venues.
You might sleep, but you will never dream by Leyden Rodriguez- Casanova opens at David Castillo Gallery (2234 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami) on September 12, 7-10 pm and closes on October 3, 2009.
Simultaneously in the David Castillo Annex, Amir H. Fallah constructs a single tower of objects from found materials in Miami. The site-specific installation is a commentary on how beauty and terror are ultimately conjoined in life.
This post was contributed by Thomas Hollingworth.