Imagine the thrill for an artist to see her paintings in a show hanging alongside works done by her mother.
“To be able to exhibit with her is just extraordinary,” Sandy Rodriguez says of “One Degree of Separation: A Sisterhood of California Women Artists,” which is continuing for a second month at Arte Americas. She and her mother, Guadalupe Rodriguez, have multiple paintings in the show.
The Los Angeles-based mother-daughter artistic combo brings a special verve and intensity to the sprawling exhibition, which features 35 artists. It’s one of the highlights of this month’s ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods.
They’re no strangers to sharing space in an exhibition. In fact, they shared classroom experiences when both attended California Institute of the Arts at the same time. Guadalupe, whose parents were both professional painters, raised six children while at the same time pursuing her artistic interests.
When Sandy was accepted to art school as a teenager, she encouraged her mother to apply, too, and both wound up in the selective program.
Their styles and subject matter in “One Degree of Separation” differ from each other. Sandy’s landscapes have a lush, liquid quality to them. She’s passionate about social issues, such as in her big and intriguing oil painting “Surveillance City,” painted in 2000 as a reaction to California’s “Three Strikes” law.
A multistory building at the center of the painting could be mistaken at first for a swanky L.A. hotel bathed in a clean, bright Southern California sunshine. But look closer: There are cameras everywhere.
“It’s actually a prison in downtown Los Angeles,” she says. “People pass it every day without realizing what it is.”
Sandy is also interested in depicting fire — which Los Angeles has a rich history of, unfortunately. Her “Fire Tornado” depicts a shimmering wall of flame that almost looks like the Northern Lights, except with palm trees.
Her mother’s work is more figure-oriented. Guadalupe’s “Duality” depicts a traditional Virgen de Guadalupe figure but with a young, fresh, dimpled face. (That’s her daughter, Lupita.)
Guadalupe’s oil painting “Matriarchal Tree” has a yellowish-orange translucent quality that hides a faint figure in the trunk. With its glazed layers and crystalline quality, there’s a sense of a tlalchico, or umbilical cord, between the celestial and terrestrial.
It’s an impressive outing by both mother and daughter.
Arte executive director and chief curator Frank Delgado envisions the exhibition as a five-year concept. It began with a core group of fifteen women who have either shown works at Arte Américas previously or were directly connected with gallery presentations.
He asked some of those women to invite up to two other women whom they knew personally, and whose work they admired — and the number of participants more than doubled added.
In subsequent years, the artists will each be asked to invite two other women they know.
Details: 1630 Van Ness Ave. www.arteamericas.org, (559) 266-2623.
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