Exhibition Dates: June 28 to August 6, 2021
Reception & Gallery Talk: Wednesday, July 14
Reception 6 to 7pm (In-person)
Gallery talk 7 to 7:30pm (Hybrid: Zoom
A new video installation by celebrated Boston artist Allison Maria Rodriguez
will be on view to the public beginning Wednesday, June 28 at the New SPOKE Gallery in South Boston. Entitled Once in a Lifetime, the exhibition is the latest in a series of solo shows called Layered Time, in which Boston artists working in a range of media explore themes of time and its passage. Kathleen Bitetti is Curator of the Layered Time series.
“We’re honored and delighted to present Allison’s work at our New SPOKE Gallery,” says Greg Liakos, Interim Executive Director. “It is provocative, immersive, and invites deep reflection on our relationship with our environment and with each other.”
Rodriguez’s new silent video installation has four large scale monitors and she has painted the gallery wall gray. The genesis of this work, and the video footage for it, comes directly from Rodriguez volunteering in Costa Rica to support researchers who are working to ensure the survival of leatherback sea turtles and their hatchlings, Bitetti writes in her curatorial essay for the show. Many of the remaining Pacific sea turtles nest in the sands of Playa Grande, Playa Ventanas, and Playa Langosta on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.(1)
During Rodriguez’s time volunteering in Costa Rica, a juvenile blue whale became stranded on the Playa Cabuyal beach. The blue whale, like leatherback sea turtles, is an endangered species. The blue whales’ endangerment is a direct result of humans nearly hunting the species into extinction. Rodriguez chose to paint the gallery wall a color called anchor gray, underscoring humanity’s direct role in endangering blue whales.
Three of the monitors are dedicated to the artist’s blue whale footage, while the fourth monitor is devoted to her footage of sea turtle hatchlings. The work, according to Rodriguez is, “both a memorial to and a witnessing of this particular whale, as well as a summoning within the viewer of a sense of the presence of interconnection. . . Multiple biologists stated that to see a blue whale this close is a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity. The title of this project comes from the tension I experience in this phrase.”
Allison Maria Rodriguez is a first-generation Cuban-American interdisciplinary artist working predominantly in video installation and new media. She creates immersive experiential spaces that challenge conventional ways of knowing and understanding the world. Her work focuses extensively on climate change, species extinction and the interconnectivity of existence.
Through video, performance, digital animation, photography, drawing, collage and installation, Rodriguez merges and blends mediums to create new pictorial spaces for aesthetic, emotional and conceptual exploration. She uses art to communicate beyond language – to open up a space of possibility for the viewer to encounter alternative ways of connecting to the emotional realities of others. Rodriguez’s work has been exhibited internationally, throughout the country and extensively in the New England area, in both traditional and non-traditional art spaces. Her work is also on view in the recently opened exhibition, A Thread, Extended, at Northeastern University’s Gallery 360
A 2021 finalist for Mass Cultural Council’s prestigious Artist Fellowships, Rodriguez is a 2019 recipient of SPOKE’s (then Medicine Wheel’s) Activist Artist Award. She is also working alongside fellow Boston artist Franklin Marval
on a SPOKE-led creative placemaking initiative in S. Boston’s Old Colony neighborhood. Funded by Beacon Communities and Boston Housing Authority, the project will engage residents and key institutional partners in Old Colony to create art that improves the quality of life in this neighborhood as it undergoes a complex, decade-long redevelopment. The arts will give voice to residents and community partners as they navigate the creation and growth of this neighborhood.
Register for the event on Zoom here.
Layered Time is a series of four solo exhibitions connected thematically by visual artists who explore facets of time through painting, drawing, video, and multimedia. The three additional artists exhibiting in this series are David Lloyd Brown, Naoe Suzuki, and Shea Justice.
SPOKE Gallery @ MW Productions
840 Summer Street, Suite 103 South Boston, MA 02127 (Note New Address!)
Directions by MBTA: Redline to South Station: #7 City Point Bus OR #11 City Point Bus
to East 2nd Street OR Redline to Broadway Station: #9 City Point to Broadway & L St.
There is limited street parking.
Info about the image: Image courtesy of the artist and is a video still from the project: Once in a Lifetime, video installation 2021