Launch LA Takes Flight with Ana Rodriguez and Nano Rubio
By Genie Davis
Through November 5th
A strong, abstract, two person show featuring work by Ana Rodriguez and Nano Rubio is on display at Launch LA through November 5th.
Rubio’s work is a visual gut-punch of color and motion; rich, combinations of line and paint, textured, dimensional, a sweeping sort of “in the Matrix” depiction that lives up to its title, Hard and Fast. These pieces are both absorbing and startling, defying simple perception. Some pieces evoke strands of DNA, chromosomes dividing, the entry to a digital tunnel. Geometric in construct, they speak of artificial life forms and alien worlds, powerful yet remote. Rubio’s work defies contemplation even as it encourages the act.
The art is intricate, a puzzle, a pattern for viewers to untangle and discern. There is a sense of a barely contained power, cold passion, and both musical chords and mathematical forms. Working with acrylic on canvas, Rubio’s work captures a kind of technological precision, one which he uses as the root to expand from and defy. There are echoes of television and computer screens, images from under a microscope in his finely wrought backgrounds. His manipulation of paint and the painting process contrasts between background and foreground, between minute precision and structure with an almost rabid, free-form series of abstract strokes.
Take Rubio’s “Satellite,” whose dark, dimensional x-shaped central figure resembles the spokes on a wheel spinning through space; behind it, blue and flesh-colored, egg shaped images stand in perhaps for humans, as finely drawn aqua lines run through them and across the entire piece, background become foreground, a prison of technology. Or examine the multi-hued pinks and purples of the thin lines cording “Scrub,” and the almost violent deep blue paint smashed across the foreground in thick, sweeping marks.
Rodriguez’ color palette is warmer and her abstract forms less defined. Where Rubio defines, limits, and thus expands perception in a controlled and mystifyingly logical manner, Rodriguez splashes, dances, and exalts in her exceptional, vivid, almost neon colors. Rodriguez offers an exotic, vivid take on abstraction. Thick, layers of paint embody depth without specific shape.
Her work has an adventurous, dramatic quality, both in terms of hue and space. Raised in East LA, her work here has the sensory overload of the city and the dreamy quality of flowers and sunsets – if they imploded into colorful planets. Patterns, decorations, and to some extent a psychedelic color scheme mesmerize in the artist’s work.
Untitled pieces are dotted, abstractly flowered, melt like ice cream, scatter like birds above a flame. Her passion for pinks, golds, and reds in this exhibition shine like dissonant sunsets. Her “Untitled 2″ give us patterned images that could be butterflies, birds, leaves, or flowers, dancing, windswept toward or emanating from a distorted, melting melange of pastel colors – an object become the sum of its pieces. “Untitled 4″ gives us a similar central object, with the small pieces filtered paler, in the background. We are both drawn into and somewhat repelled by these shapes.
Together, both artists create a magical, surreal world of color, line, shape, and evocation – gift baskets far from abominable and hard and fast truths worth exploring.