Artist: Sheila Garrett Rodriguez
Exhibition: Were We Even Here
Media: Installation with Mixed Media and Embroidery
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery East
About the Artist
Sheila Garrett Rodriguez is a graduate student in the School of Art’s Fiber Program at CSULB. She also has a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting. Prior to attending graduate school she began to do embroidery and she really enjoyed it. This is a reason why she decided to attend graduate school and pursue her Master’s of Fine Arts in Fiber. Rodriguez shared that she gets her ideas from her experience of moving 30 times in her lifetime.
Rodriguez’s exhibition, Were We Even Here is an installation with mixed media and embroidery. She used materials from houses and added embroidery that stands out with all the different colors. The house materials include a bed frame, chair, pieces of drywall, window screens and wood. All of these house materials have some type of embroidery with flower designs or lines with different patterns. One of the window screen has a sign that says “House For Sale.” Also, there is a short video playing and someone in the kitchen cooking different foods.
Were We Even Here is based on Rodriguez’s memories of the homes she has lived throughout her life time. She explained how she has moved 30 times and there were some homes where she made strong connections. Each piece that she has in the exhibition represents a significant memory with her experience of moving homes. An important piece of the exhibition is “No Trespassing: Borders and Bodies” because it represents who we are and the first house she has owned. She explained how people tend to make judgements based on how a person’s home look. Also, this piece like many of the other ones have colorful flowers. These flowers are usually seen in the Mexican culture and Rodriguez used these flowers to symbolize her Mexican heritage. Rodriguez’s main focus with this exhibition was to portray the strong connections people can make to a home.
Were We Even Here was a very interesting exhibition because I would of never thought about using home materials to portray such a meaningful message. When I first went into the gallery I was curious to know why the artist had used home materials. Then she explained how she had moved so many times and had a different experience in each home. When she said she had moved 30 times I couldn’t image myself moving so many times. I have lived in my house for over 17 years and I feel that it will be very hard on me if I were to move. However, Rodriguez said that for her it was easy because she was accustomed to move around.