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From June 4 through July 12, 2003


Haim Chanin Fine Arts presents an exhibition of works by Ofelia Rodriguez, on view June 4 through July 12, 2003. This first solo show by the renowned Colombian artist in New York features five large mixed-media paintings, ten collages on paper and four of her signature magic boxes.


The exuberant color and unexpected combinations characteristic of Ofelia Rodriguez’s work immediately captivate the eye and demand a closer look.  Ofelia’s mixed-media paintings and works on paper are divided into large colored areas of bright color and texture. Yet, they are not abstract. The hand-colored photocopies of body-parts and objects glued or stitched onto the surface confer a sculptural quality to the two-dimensional pieces.  Elements as diverse as a cowhide, a tongue, an ear or a band-aide might find their way into the work. Ofelia also delights us with three-dimensional “magic boxes.” These are brightly colored rotating boxes composed of little treasures that Ofelia continuously gathers in flea markets and old bookstores.  Among her most recent combinations of objects we often find horns, brushes and wings, although a toy dog or a plastic ear are just as likely to pop up, as seen in pieces such as “Magic Box with Protected Furry Ear.”


An intuitive sense guides Ofelia through the creative process. There is no intended meaning other than the aesthetic pleasure and the joyful surprise of finding a visual balance in the unlikely combination of objects and images. The artist’s work is full of irony and humor, as titles such as “Flying Thirst” or “Lending an Ear to the Past” indicate. This whimsical game can also be interpreted as a search to reach the supernatural world or the inner depths of the subconscious.  There is also a darker side, a wound, in the words of Dawn Ades, which is manifested in the recurring band-aids and sectioned body parts. Ofelia’s work results from the convergence of Western aesthetic culture, as felt in her sense of composition and the references to Joseph Cornell or Marcel Duchamp, and of Latin American popular culture, the closest parallel found in the retablos, or wooden boxes with a personal or religious narrative. Perhaps, then Ofelia’s stitching action is a way to mend or heal the wound left by a history of forced cultural hybridization. In the sense that any number of unexpected combinations are possible, Ofelia Rodriguez’s work is imbued by a sense of displacement with a magical dimension. Her creations are a secret passageway, an open door to unknown and mysterious worlds.




Haim Chanin Fine Arts All Rights Reserved (C) 2003