Seattle sculptor George Rodriguez is not afraid to address sensitive sociopolitical issues. His recent figurative sculptures portray marginalized characters of immutable inner strength, grace and dignity: Their highly ornamented forms are rooted in George’s study of traditional temple guardian figures from around the world, a study that reveals the inherent commonality at our core. His work is a celebration of the individual against the backdrop of community, the modern world against the backdrop of the ancient. His figures are everyday superheroes; through them George asks us to elevate our social consciousness with empathy and inclusion. We are all one people. It is our diversity and individuality that give our community strength.
At the 2018 Seattle Art Fair, George’s exhibition further explores themes of protection, inclusion and sanctity using the Chinese Zodiac as framework. Distilling traits of individual family and friends, George renders animal portraits distinctly related to their corresponding humans while simultaneously presenting as one community. Pairing his characteristic playful grace with the regal quality of Ai WeiWei’s Circle of Animals, George’s sculptures extend the same reverence embodied in traditional guardian statuary to his own people.
A graduate of the University of Washington’s MFA program, George is deeply involved with Seattle’s art world. He is the 2016 recipient of the Museum of Northwest Art's Luminaries’ Patti Warashina Award for Emerging Artists and this spring, he was featured in a solo show at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art in 2018. His work has been acquired by Chicago’s National Mexican Museum of Art and this winter, exhibited in a solo show titled 'Where is Our Exile?' at the University of Texas El Paso. George continues to draw on his travels to 26 countries on three continents backed by the Bonderman Travel Fellowship, which he was awarded in 2010. Expanding on his studies of global culture and ceremony, George seeks to bridge his Chicano heritage with Thai, Peruvian, Bolivian, Mongolian, Egyptian, Taiwanese, and Indonesian civilization and mythology.
George on Crosscut.
Video by Aileen Imperial and Jaycie Osterberg
Interview by Enrique Pérez de la Rosa
King 5 Feature Interview with George: