Stamps alum, Mayela Rodriguez (MFA ’19) will be showing work in “Ground Control,” a group exhibition that is part of Southern California’s SUR:biennial. “Ground Control” opens Thursday, October 5, at Cypress College Art Gallery with an opening reception from 6 — 8 p.m. The show is on view until November 22.
“Ground Control: Resource Extraction and the Demand for Sovereignty” is a group exhibition that brings together an international roster of 9 artists whose work is driven by a research-intensive critique of the transmutation of the natural world into capital. The collection of photography, installation, sculpture, video, painting, and printed material on view revisits Eduardo Galeano’s seminal text, “Open Veins of Latin America,” which fifty years ago shifted the dialogue surrounding the global south away from a focus on the presumed need for economic development. “In the colonial and neocolonial alchemy,” he wrote, “gold changes into scrap metal and food into poison.” Subsequent historiographies have had to acknowledge the role that international monetary policy had — and continues to have — in enacting a project of dependency in these regions.
The projects on view in “Ground Control” grapple with the colonial legacy in Latin America. From the mining of mineral resources such as copper and petroleum to the commodification and rarefication of public goods such as water and land, to the compelled migration and exploitation of human labor, the artists’ awareness of the forces of empire inflects their work.
As part of the show, Rodriguez will be sharing some photographic and archival works, all part of a larger body of work called “Veins.” The work explores her family ties to Cananea, Mexico, where the Buenavista del Cobre mine is located. Rodriguez uses copper as a lens to explore her identity and her family’s legacy.
The SUR:biennial, now in its 7th cycle, has sought to explore the complex notions of globalization and exchange that take place in the ambiguous geographical, cultural, and artistic borderlands between Southern California and the broader South. Each independently curated exhibition showcases recent and newly commissioned works by local and international artists influenced, in one way or another, by the cultures and artistic traditions of Mexico, Central and South America, and/or the Caribbean, including their many diasporas.
To learn more about Mayela Rodriguez, visit www.mayelarodriguez.com.
Ground Control: Resource Extraction and the Demand for Sovereignty