Women Artists in the Rodríguez Collection curated by Roxana M. Bermejo and Henry Ballate
WOMEN ARTISTS IN THE RODRIGUEZ COLLECTION - GROUP EXHIBITION
Women Artists in the Rodríguez Collection: Celebrate Female Artists within our collection and beyond our walls. The Rodríguez Collection highlights women artists whose artwork spans a variety of media, genres, and eras. We hope you will share our #WomenArtists on social media, and celebrate the important contributions these women have made to the arts.
Ana Albertina, Angela Alés, Consuelo Castañeda, Ivonne Ferrer, Flora Fong, Marlys Fuego, Lia Galletti, Rocio Garcia, Aimée Joaristi, Allison Kotzig, Milena Martinez, Amelia Peláez, Gina Pellón, Aimee Perez, Sandra Ramos, Zaida del Río, Lisyanet Rodríguez, Mel Rossitch, Ana Maria Sarlat, Loló Soldevilla.
From May 8, 2020 - Jul 10, 2020 (by appointment only)
Vacuos attempts to apprehend Creation
By Roxana Martínez Bermejo
One needs to be cautious in front of the “woman” theme. This brings with it ancestral stories of sinful Eves and salt statues that crumble in front of our eyes. The “woman” topic gains in appreciation when it comes accompanied by pink tones, when babies are added to the feminine arms, or when there is a bit of extra “meat” to catch attention. The object “woman” is bittersweet. Oh! But the subject “woman”? This is a different story, one full of byways and blank pages. There is no horror vacui for women. The woman as creator, the woman author has had to wait a long time to be read, I am not saying to be interpreted, or applauded, but simply and plainly to be taken into account.
Nevertheless, it is not all darkness here. There are some areas where, fortunately, we can talk about inclusion, maybe gradual, but not for this less relevant nor radical. The art circuit, for example, is one of the spaces in where the feminine voice has been gaining room little by little, like a worm that breaks the earth with the solely intention of fertilize it. We could try to analyze this phenomenon through the international sphere, but I would prefer to go straight to a primary cell in order to get more detailed information. Therefore, I will talk about Leonardo Rodríguez’s collection, with which I have had the pleasure of working systemically and closely for more than three years. The Rodriguez collection opens its most important branch, The Kendall Art Center, in July 2016. At that time, it included only four women in a total sample of 50 artists. These women were Gina Pellón, Zaida del Río, Ivón Ferrer, and Amelia Peláez. Nowadays, this number has considerably grown, increasing by more than five proportions its original size. Kendall Art Center include in the present more than twenty female artists, of whom 18 are active creators of the artistic scenario, not only in Miami, but –as is predictable- in Cuba, and even in other parts of the world.
And it is not only important to mention the numerical increase of the female presence in the collection, because this may not become more than a quantitative data, but it is essential to mention the hard work that exists behind this expansion, and the efforts that have been carried out to favor it. In the first place, it needs to be mentioned the fact that since 2017 the center has in its program an annual exposition which is exclusively dedicated to the exhibition, promotion, and celebration of art works created by women. This does not mean that the rest of the year women are excluded from the shows and presentations: this does mean that in the yearly women exhibition we are going to find an intimately articulated speech, where nothing but the female voice is important. This is an exhibition that make possible the entrance of new names to the gallery. Year after year, this programed presentation has been driven by Maria Baños feverish work, and supported by important names of the local culture. We could mention in these lines the incredible labor of Janet Batet, Gabriela Azcuy, Carol Damian, Hortensia Montero, Isabel M. Pérez… These curators, specialists, art historians who are behind the artists, caring for and collecting every detail of their discourse, also represents a great gain for the idea that I try to structure in this text: the woman has managed to locate herself as an author on the map of contemporary art.
Then, this book-catalogue comes to accompany the displacement we have been talking about, collect it in the exact way it has occurred: from scratch, from pieces, from the tentative crawling of a little human that one day will walk and run. We certainly know that this is just the beginning, but every day we are more convinced of that what it is been written is a faithful attempt to correct the history. The exhibition that is presented to you today has born as most of the babies, full of love and under a lot of thrust. There is no other way to describe it than this: porous, moist, amniotic-scented… It comes to its public to be held and transferred from hand to hand, with sorority and respect. We have in these rooms the fruit, half from the womb, half from the hearth, of twenty-one women of the twenty-one century. Or even better: just women, of any time, of any race, of any gender.
Between one name and another, here come the abstractionism and the figurative method; here come the photographers, sculptors, painters… Supported or renegade by the critic and the social environment in which they were raised. Must-see names for anyone who knows about history, unmissable images for anyone with eyes. Women Artists in the Rodriguez Collection offers woods, porcelain, canvases, leaves of life: Antonia -a Cuban who had to embrace Miami, as many of us embrace it as well-, Consuelo, Rocío, Aimeé, Loló, Lisyanet, Ana Albertina... They come today with titles that open doors and scape from everything that was previously named. These women, our women, have a thematic capacity so broad, varied, and juicy that it is impossible to be apprehended in the margins of a text. And yet here I am, trying to translate the evocated feelings to simple words. I do not think I will be able. It is better if I invite you to witness the works for yourselves. Only, and without the intention of suggesting you, I would like you to -when browsing the book, or walking into the gallery rooms- think in that magical poem of Dulce María Loynaz - called not coincidentally Creation - where it is read:
And first it was the water:
a hoarse water,
without the breath of fish, without shores
to squeeze it…
The water was first,
over a world being born from God’s hand…
There was water …
earth did not peer out from among the waves,
still the earth
was only mud, soft and trembling…
There were no flowering moons nor clusters
of islands … In the belly
of the young water, continents were growing…
Dawn of the world, awakening
of the world!
Such dying of the last fires!
Such seas in flames under the black sky!
First was the water.
Roxana M. Bermejo, Havana, 1992. Historian and art critic. Graduated in Art History from the Faculty of Arts and Letters of La Universidad de La Habana. She works as a publisher of an academic journal with an independent profile Art-Sôlido. Worthy for her book Bitácora del sujeto ausente, First International Novel of Poetry University Miguel Hernández Chair Miguel Hernandez University of Elche, Alicante (Spain, 2016). Participant in various national and international events, related to the Caribbean and Latin American culture. His texts have been published in spaces such as the magazine and Tabloid Artecubano, AMANO: Oficio & Diseño, FullFrame, Art OnCuba, the digital film portal Cuba Now, and Art Solido.
Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.