Allison Maria Rodriguez: Works from In the Presence of Absence

On view in the ICA's Congress Street Window: December 15, 2022 - January 11, 2023

Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art & Design

"Rosario, Roberto & Sandy" and “Jose María & Ike” are two videos from a larger video installation project entitled In the Presence of Absence. The project as a whole merges two primary conceptual concerns of the artist’s practice: her Latinx identity and environmental conservation. It draws an intimate parallel between environmental and cultural loss. Each video in the project is a moving image portrait featuring her deceased ancestors, extinct and endangered animal species, and data visualizations of hurricanes that impacted Cuba. Through merged representations of the hybridity of her Cuban-American identity, Rodriguez creates fantastical landscapes in which past and present, memory and fantasy, and the known and unknown converge. The work navigates between worlds and draws attention to the lack or emptiness we encounter when we are disconnected from another species or distanced from our own culture– and the acts of appreciation and mourning that work to keep collective memory alive.

Allison Maria Rodriguez is a first-generation Cuban-American interdisciplinary artist working predominantly in video installation. Her work focuses extensively on climate change, species extinction and the interconnectivity of existence. Through video, digital animation, photography, performance, drawing, collage and installation, Rodriguez creates experiential spaces that challenge conventional ways of knowing and understanding the world. Her immersive installations have been exhibited in venues such as deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Smack Mellon, and the Boston Children’s Museum, among others. Rodriguez is a Brother Thomas Fellow of The Boston Foundation, and previous awards include an Earthwatch Communications Fellowship and the grand prize at the Creative Climate Awards. In 2019 she was honored by WBUR as one of “The ARTery 25,” an inaugural celebration of 25 millennials of color impacting Boston’s arts and culture scene.

Featured image: Allison Maria Rodriguez, “Jose María & Ike”, video still, 2018