George Rodriguez | Ritual Vessels | April Exhibition

April 6  - 22, 2023

Opening Reception During First Thursday Art Walk, April 6, 6-8p
Artist in attendance
Media inquiries:, 206-622-2833

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Foster/White Gallery proudly presents Ritual Vessels, a new collection of ceramic sculptures by George Rodriguez. In these zoomorphic vessels, the artist has formed human faces peering out from the mouths of animals like the jaguar, eagle, and quetzal. Traditionally, vessels hold our necessities, our belongings, our keepsakes. In his new exhibition, Rodriguez imagines that they do much more, serving ambiguous, ceremonial functions. They transform the age-old idea of a storage jar into a magical container for holding images of ourselves, our identities, and our cultures. In so far as our lives are mysteriously shaped by animal spirits, we acquire their traits by wearing them like invisible cloaks or hoodies.

In addition to vessels, Rodriguez also references worldwide craft traditions though the lens of his Mexican heritage in a series of dog sculptures. These are all based on the ceramic Colima dog from Mexican prehistory, still a popular form of folk art today. Both dogs and vessels show Rodriguez's ongoing effort to incorporate complex ideas as he nears 20 years as an artist.

My latest body of work is a collection of ritual vessels. Vessels that contain history and future. Vessels that capture human emotion. Vessels that create cultural connection. Vessels for an unspecified ritual. These vessels take the shape of animals, figures, vases and relics. When I think about clay, I think about the ritual of cutting my block, rolling slabs, gathering molds, and collecting my fork. I think about the different rituals I value and create for myself. I want to revert back to simplicity and let go of some material control. Go back to the transformation of glaze on clay. Go to a place of rediscovery. As I observe my human vessel and the rituals I rely on, I think about the impressions clay makes on my body. I think about the stress, the joy, the cracked skin and the sensitivity of my fingertips. I invite the viewer to wonder about the rituals that create or transform your own human vessel, what you hold, and how that shifts with time. 

-- George Rodriguez, 2023

Rodriguez holds a BFA from the University of Texas, El Paso, and an MFA in ceramics from the University of Washington, Seattle. He received the 2016 Museum of Northwest Art’s Luminaries Patti Warashina Award for Emerging Artists. His work has shown at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Bainbridge, WA; Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA; Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner, WA; the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University, Salem, OR; the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury, MD; and is currently on view at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art, Friday Harbor, WA.

His sculptures are part of the collections of the
Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum; the National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, IL; the University of Washington's Paul G. Allen College of Computer Science and Engineering, Seattle, WA; and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University, Salem, OR; among others.

Most recently, Rodriguez's large scale public art installation Let the Music Take You opened on Concourse A of the Kansas City International Airport.

High resolution images on request.
Gallery hours: Tue - Sat, 10 am - 6 pm

George Rodriguez CV

El Zodiaco Familiar at Whatcom Museum

George Rodriguez on Craft in America Storytellers Episode 2020

George Rodriguez Instagram Live Video 2020

Listen to an interview with George by Corazón Arte Cultura

Crosscut Interview and Film Feature

King 5 Feature Interview with George.

Foster/White Interview with George Rodriguez June 2020

George Rodriguez 2012 Exhibition Catalog In Costume

George Rodriguez 2014 Exhibition Catalog Here After

George Rodriguez 2016 Exhibition Catalog Beneath The Surface

George Rodriguez 2017 Exhibition Catalog Sanctuary

George Rodriguez 2020 Exhibition Catalog Urban Guardians

10 x 13 x 11 inches
George Rodriguez: Amigo Águila
Stoneware with underglaze and glaze
George Rodriguez: Linked
George Rodriguez: Amigo Jaguar
Stoneware with underglaze
George Rodriguez: Basenji (West)
Stoneware with underglaze
George Rodriguez: Colima (South)
stoneware with underglaze
George Rodriguez: Corgi (North)
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