Gamaliel Rodriguez is a visual artist based in Puerto Rico. He works with felt, acrylic and ballpoint pen to produce aerial views of artificial industrial, military, and civilian structures in Puerto Rico and US territories. An exhibition of his new work titled “Uncertainty Gates” is currently on view at the Nathalie Karg Gallery in New York through February 18, 2018. Uncertainty Gates, is his first New York solo exhibition.
Just four months ago, Gamaliel Rodriguez’s synthetic landscapes, which depict a world where industrial buildings meld into nature and are absent of human life, could be read as dystopian fabrications. Today, as most of his native island remains without power after Hurricane Maria, the drawings reflect neither fiction nor future, but a troubling hyperreality. In light of Puerto Rico’s tragic fate, the works in Uncertainty Gates have gone from fantastic speculation to prescient compositions.
While it’s impossible to view these images without thinking of the artist’s homeland, they remain in a skillfully ambiguous state. Using the omnipresent rectilinear vocabulary of municipal and residential buildings all over the world, these scenes could be any place — from Chernobyl to Three Mile Island. As the work vacillates between obscurity and specificity, it also plays with the depth and surface of the picture plane. Landscapes recede deep into 3-D space, yet forms are obscured in the foreground, rejecting traditional modes of perspectival rendering,
In each drawing, modest materials—paper, pencil, and felt tip pen—become greater than the sum of their parts, with melancholy grey and cerulean hues bringing the landscapes to life. Delicate tensions abound: arial views suggest a cold distance, while meticulous mark making reveals the hand of the artist, drawing us ever closer.
Gamaliel Rodriguez received his BA from the University of Sacred Heart in San Juan PR in 2004; his MFA from the Kent Institute of Art and Design in 2005; and has participated in numerous residencies. Rodriguez’s work has been included in both solo and group exhibitions such as at SCAD Museum in Savannah, Georgia; Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico in San Juan, Puerto Rico; David Castillo Gallery in Miami, Florida; and Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York.