Parallel Realities

Jan. 17 – Feb. 22, 2015

Ricardo Rodriguez, photography
Janet Neuwalder, mixed media

Opening Reception with Artists
Sat., Jan. 17, 4-6pm

galerie102 is pleased to present Parallel Realities featuring photographer Ricardo Rodriguez, former curator of Ventura’s Bell Arts Factory’s Tool Room Gallery, and Ventura-based mixed-media and ceramicist Janet Neuwalder. In Parallel Realities, Rodriguez and Neuwalder collaborate on new work that plays off of each other and their skillful use of layering to create alluring multi-dimensional landscapes alive with texture, depth and a grand sense of illusion. In a similar fashion, both paper and ceramics become the subject of transformation reflecting upon our changing physical and psychological relation to the materiality of images and objects. Even though some might consider photography and ceramics as very different and separate mediums, interestingly in this installation they work together to celebrate the origination of each element: earth and paper.

Rodriguez’s striking black and white images give the sense of soaring mountains floating in space. On one side, Rodriguez’s series investigates simultaneously the subject and subject matter by photographing papers onto paper through the use of a pinhole camera. He builds three-dimensional paper sculptural scenes and photographs them onto a two-dimensional light sensitive paper surface. The modern and futuristic landscapes portrayed by fragments of scenes create fictional and conceptual landscapes that allude to how we build our reality.

Rodriguez’s exploration of representation, the often-labeled “ephemeral quality” of a photographic paper, and its flatness enables recognition of the materiality of the medium. This new series portrays fictional landscapes that question our perception of photography as an object by confronting us to reconsider one of the main characters in photography, paper.

Rodriguez received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 2007 from the University of Puerto Rico, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 2010, he obtained his Masters of Fine Art at Brooks Institute. His work has been exhibited extensively in his native Puerto Rico, as well as throughout the United States. Recently, his work has become part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach California. He currently resides in Los Angeles and teaches photography at Flintridge Preparatory School in La Canada Flintridge.

Comparatively Neuwalder, in her subtle yet dynamic wall sculptural reliefs, explores the materiality and poetic potential of paper, by creating “petrified” ceramic paper constructions. Her work uses clay to speak directly of delicacy and strength, alluding to the poignancy and importance of balance in the natural and psychological realm. Using natural and manufactured materials (papers, fibers, books, etc.) that act as armatures for a starting point of her work, Neuwalder coats these materials with liquid clays, fires and assembles them. Paper has been archived, petrified, transformed by fire as to encode what once was material evidence of human existence. The results are a multitude of petrified clay fragments assembled with mixed media to create topographic landscapes that are poised somewhere between growth and decay, recognition and abstraction, beauty and viscera. The visual and tactile qualities allow entry into microscopic and macroscopic worlds that often feel somewhat familiar.

Neuwalder received her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, KC, MO and an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She has exhibited nationally since 1984 at a variety of venues including The Everson Museum of Art, Nelson Atkins Museum, American Craft Museum, South Carolina State Museum, Holter Museum of Art and the Headley-Whitney Museum and Barnsdall Park, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Her work is included in the collections at the Mint Museum of Art and Design, Charlotte and the Long Beach Art Museum, in Long Beach, CA. Neuwalder is a Ford Foundation recipient and was awarded a Kentucky State Arts Council grant. She was one of the documented artists in Focus on the Masters. Currently, Neuwalder teaches at California Lutheran University and works out of her studio in Ventura, CA.