Artist: Sheila Garrett Rodriguez
Exhibition: Were We Even Here
Gallery: Max L. Gatov Gallery East
Media: wallpaper, dry wall, oil on canvas, acrylic, yarn, window screen, embroidery floss
About the Artist:
Sheila Garrett Rodriguez is a graduate student at California State University, Long Beach, she received her Bachelors degree in Drawing and Painting and now is pursuing her MFA in Fiber. Even though Sheila is of Mexican descent, she considers herself a Chicana, she does not speak fluent Spanish. This keep from the fact that she is a third generation Mexican American. Sheila explained to us how when her Grandparents moved to the United States it was during the time were racism was a huge disgusting thing. Her grandparents were even threatened to get their kids taken away if they spoke any Spanish thus, Sheila’s mom grew up speaking mostly English and did not have the opportunity to teach Sheila a lot of Spanish. This did not bother her though, it made her want to dig deeper into her roots and create art from it. She mentioned she lived in about thirty different houses in the course of her life time. This along with her little knowledge of her Mexican heritage inspired her to create this art piece which projected her Mexican heritage using very vibrant and colorful pieces of yarn to create an art piece.
As soon as I walked into the gallery Sheila’s use of vibrant colorful yarn caught my eye. She used window screens collected from old houses to represent the homes she once lived in and embroidered beautiful colorful pieces of yarn into it to create amazing floral designs representing her Mexican Heritage. She mentioned how the yarn weaved together was a perception of her weaving together her heritage since she was raised for American than Mexican. Even though she did not know as much as she would like to of her own heritage she is still trying to learn more and is aware and proud of it. I feel like the embroidery and crochet is just a way to piece everything together.
Once I walked in the gallery the first thing I mentioned was that it reminded me of my grandmother. My grandma loves crocheting and in all her art pieces my grandma also uses very vibrant colors along with floral patterns, so when I walked in the gallery it gave me a nice warm feeling of my grandmas house in Mexico. I felt my Mexican heritage jumping out at me. I loved the use of the bright colored yarn crocheting to represent it. Thus far, this has been my favorite exhibition not only because it represents my Mexican heritage but because it reminded me of my grandma whom I have not seen in almost five years and seeing her art piece made me feel close to her again.