Team is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by the Miami-based sculptor Cristina Lei Rodriguez. The exhibition will run from the 10th of January through the 16th of February 2008. Team Gallery is located at 83 Grand Street, cross streets Wooster and Greene, on the ground floor.
Cristina Lei Rodriguez’s sculptural practice provokes viewers through a collision of aesthetic contrasts. Each piece is a conflation of the organic and the plastic, the beautiful and the monstrous. Although each is a study in controlled, complex assemblage, they remain permissive of the vulgar disharmony that comes from an overwrought mash-up of visual and tactile elements. These elements contort, careen, uncoil, and stretch amidst and around one another, forming a chaotic mass that performs a glamorized resemblance of vegetation. In Rodriguez’s garden, fake foliage is pressed into service in the role of theatrical mimicry. Unlike mere sculptures of plants, her constructions play the part of botany in a realm of hyper-reality by donning costumes of excessive ornamentation.
Movement plays an important roll in this unfolding drama of aesthetic tension and discord. Plants grow, flowers blossom and yet within the context of Rodriguez’s work these forms are suffocated by resin — jeweled, bedazzled, almost embalmed. The variety and intensity of the vibrant color palette foregrounds the issue of movement by demanding rigorous ocular engagement. The eye is pulled in disparate directions as the viewer attempts visual prioritization amidst a raucous display of elements all vying for one’s attention. At points, the density of embellishment verges on cataclysmic and unbridled grotesquery and yet the formal qualities of the sculptures are evidence of the supreme control of this artist’s hand and eye.
Beneath its lush and sugary artifice, the work possesses a toxic undercurrent. In it, one finds the threat of something phantasmagorical, which, though imitative of our natural environment, glitters with an unnerving resplendence not entirely of this world.
Rodriguez’s work is included in the traveling exhibition Uncertain States of America, which has been installed at the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo, at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard, and at the Serpentine in London. She has had solo shows with Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, both in Miami and in Paris. This is Rodriguez’s first show at Team.