Praxis is pleased to present Time’s Passage is Probably an Illusion, a solo exhibition by Estefania Velez Rodriguez (b. Mayaguez, Puerto Rico). The exhibition will be open from July 15th until September 11th 2021. We are open to the public Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 6pm at 501 W 20th Street, New York, NY, 10011.
Dense biomes are contained within architectural elements: window frames, tiles, stone floors, stairs and balustrades enclose vibrant landscapes filled with small line works and solid structures that situate us within the artist’s perspective. This imaginary scenery resembles hieroglyphs that as a language invoke the natural world, while the multitude of layers mixes rivers with seaweed, waterfalls with calamari, mountains with human hearts. Grids, patterns and flat surfaces convey a labyrinthine spatiality of color. Warm greens, blues and pinks overflow us while cool colors recede into the background and are transfigured into geographic features.
Inspired by her Latin American roots, Estefania Velez Rodriguez handcrafted her own materials, experimented with different chemical reactions, and blended raw pigments with graffiti spray paint in order to create oniric landscapes that recall the shades of Mexico and Puerto Rico. But, however abstract these compositions may first appear to us, their glorious colors and textures shake the paintings like an earthquake, and fill them with movement, change and growth that strike us viscerally with an immediacy that cannot be measured. In her canvases, time and space can be everywhere and at the same nonexistent; they are made-up, limitless.
Velez Rodriguez was born in Puerto Rico, but moved to the continental United States at an early age. This experience led her to feel foreign here and there, everywhere and nowhere, and to see painting as a spatial problem. For this series, she built windows that are simultaneously looking inside and outside and depict a temporal space that only exists relatively within us. She painted throughout the pandemic in her studio in Brooklyn as well as on a rooftop in Mexico City, and pondered how time’s passage is probably an illusion.
In these ruptured landscapes, the artist questions our outsider/insider relationship with what surrounds us. She remembered the unstoppable noise of ambulances outside our windows, and the unsettling fear of the outside, of the virus, and of each other, and yet eschewed the norm to paint landscapes full of cedars, oaks, dark greens, and grey skies in preference to normalize a warmer and more expectant surrounding.