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Gamaliel Rodriguez

Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

Gamaliel Rodriguez turns to the immediacy of his own home in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico in a series of large- scale paintings created in the past year. Continuing his interrogation of the Puerto Rican landscape, Rodriguez’s paintings, which foreground the failure of infrastructure, allude to a dystopian future that is the byproduct of extraction, experimentation, military occupation, and a failed project of modernization. Likewise, as this new series of paintings foregrounds, the artist’s work stems from a sustained, committed, and attentive daily engagement with the area which he inhabits. In 2021, Rodríguez had a solo exhibition at MASS MOcA Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art which featured LA TRAVESÍA / LE VOYAGE, a 60-foot long drawing Inspired by his experience of North Adams and its post-industrial landscape during his time in the museum’s studio residency program.Rodríguez was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico in 1977. He received his BA from the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2004; an MFA from the Kent Institute of Art and Design in the United Kingdom in 2005; and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2011. He has participated in numerous residencies and fellowships such as The MacDowell Fellowship in 2012 and The International Studio & Curatorial Program Residency in 2013. He has exhibited his work at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia; the Museum Fine Arts, Boston; Domus Artium (DA2), Salamanca, Spain; Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan; and the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York. He lives and works in Puerto Rico.

CAB 5 Contribution

Project Overview

Figures, 2017-2018

Gamaliel Rodriguez’s synthetic landscapes, which depict a world  where industrial buildings meld into nature and are absent of human  life, could be read as dystopian fabrications. But today, while most of  his native island of Puerto Rico tries to rebuild itself after major  natural disasters, the drawings reflect neither fiction nor future but  rather a troubling hyperreality. In light of Puerto Rico’s tragic fate, the  works in Uncertainty Gates have gone from fantastically speculative  to prescient. While it’s impossible to view these images without  thinking of the artist’s homeland, they exist in a deliberately  ambiguous state. Rendered in the omnipresent rectilinear vocabulary  of municipal and residential buildings all over the world, these scenes  could be any place—from Chernobyl to Three Mile Island. As the  work vacillates between obscurity and specificity, it also plays with  the depth and surface of the picture plane. Landscapes recede in  three-dimensional space, yet forms in the foreground are obscured in  a rejection of traditional modes of perspectival rendering. In each  drawing, melancholy gray and cerulean hues bring the landscapes to  life. Delicate tensions abound: aerial views suggest a cold distance,  while meticulous mark making draws us ever closer.


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Chicago Cultural Center


78 East Washington Street, Chicago, IL


The Loop


The Chicago Cultural Center serves as one of the main exhibition venue sites for CAB 5, featuring projects from more than 80 participants from ten countries. 

Opened in 1897, the Chicago Cultural Center is a Chicago landmark building operated by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and is home to free cultural exhibits and programming year-round.

Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Cultural Center
The City is the Site