Lordy Rodriguez was an Artpace International Artist-in-Residence in 2001. Now, 22 years later, Rodriguez returns to Artpace with a selection of artworks he’s created since his residency. Since Last We Met, as the title suggests, is a conversation between friends, and like the artwork in his oeuvre, it is a play on place and memory.
The exhibition consists of a variety of ink drawings that utilize alcohol-based inks and Micron pens to create what appear, at first glance, as maps. For example, Since Last We Met includes a selection of work from his America Series, composed of 56 drawings that took about ten years to complete. This series became a map of America based on Rodriguez’s own history, interaction, and memory of this country and culture. There are features of the map that are reminiscent of an original map of the United States, such as a region like the Great Lakes, an East and West coast, and “some sort of Canada to the North and Mexico to the South. “I spent my time at Artpace playing with mediums, drawing with my car (which is such a map thing to me), and abstraction (which is a huge part of my art education),” said Rodriguez. “What I did at Artpace set the stage for future series that break apart the elements that make up visual languages like maps, advertisements, interior design, fashion, movies, etc.”
Throughout his career, Rodriguez has used his artwork to question our perception of place and how that can be influenced by memories, desires, or even by intentional propagandistic elements. Even through the title, the audience may to whom the artist is referring. Is this a conversation between the artist and Artpace? Between the artist as he is now and the person, he was in 2001 during his residency? The important part is in the questioning. Rodriguez told Artpace, “I’m just using visual elements that maps have and reusing them to some end. The real question to ask yourself after that initial stage of recognizability is ‘What am I being manipulated into thinking?’”