Carissa Rodriguez: penetrating the surface…

« I am a deeply superficial person » declares the T-shirt of Carissa Rodriguez, artist, writer and gallerist from New York. Less superficial than it would appear, her work addresses questions regarding originality and collective production.
For Carissa Rodriguez the creative act is intimately linked to the production of the work. When the Kunsthalle Zurich invited her in 2009, she used cloths from St. Gallen, a town which has been known for its textile and embroidery production since the 15th century. The result was a series of powerful works: “The Beatrix“, ink jet prints made on polyester fabrics.
The work “The one Inside”, 2011 – a marble plaque into which a Cartier ring was encrusted – was the result of a collaboration with a collector who worked in marble. Here the context of production shows how a chance meeting can determine the nature of an artwork.
In the spring of 2010, it was the Swiss Institute in New York that invited her to create a site specific installation for their lobby. She created printed silk skirts, a work inspired by a Japanese proverb: My skirt with tears is always wet, I have forgotten to forget.
Carissa Rodriguez, “Skirt”, 2010. Pleated skirt, ink jet print on silk
For Carissa Rodriguez, fabric is a double material offering possibilities of working with its two sides. Her works plays with the idea of the upper/under, by displaying different, often hidden, aspects of the material.
Her series “Untitled (Luxury Problems #9)”, 2009, explores this complex relationship with clothing, by digitally enlarging a silk garment and printing it onto commercial signage material (adhesive vinyl PCV). This multicoloured patchwork of patterns, transferred from clothing to industrial materials, represents fabric as both a hand-crafted and mass made material.
Carissa Rodriguez,
“Untitled (Luxury Problems)”, 2009. Ink jet print on adhesive PVC vinyl, 90 x 90cm each. Installation view “Cherchez La Ghost”. New Jerseyy, Basel, 2009.
By combining fabrics produced industrially with more personalised images, these works represent the process of making an item of clothing.
Very present in Carissa Rodriguez’s work, fabrics create an aesthetic and socio-economic tension. Using different means of production – printing on fabric, paper and vinyl – the artist shows the asymmetry between a material and its translation into an image, putting the independence of the object before all else.
Carissa Rodriguez is represented by the Karma International gallery
All works: courtesy the artist