Sandy Rodriguez: In Isolation

December 18, 2021–April 17, 2022

Explore the healing power of art through Sandy Rodriguez in Isolation, featuring 30 new works on paper created by the Los Angeles–based painter during her recent Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency in Southern California. Impacted by the rapid news cycle of rising COVID-19 fatalities and nationwide demonstrations against police brutality, Rodriguez turned to the surrounding desert as a guide for her response. She collected botanical specimens native to the region with medicinal and utilitarian applications, which she studied, painted, then processed as handmade paints to create possibilities for healing past and present trauma through the recovery of Indigenous knowledge systems. The exhibition features landscapes, protest scenes, maps, and botanical studies, all created using her hand-processed inks and watercolors.

Rodriguez also draws inspiration from colonial-period writings and documents, namely the Florentine Codex. Authored by a Franciscan friar and Nahua scholars in the mid-16th century amid a pandemic, the work records the history and practices of the Nahua in Central Mexico, as well as the flora and fauna of the region, with both Nahuatl and Spanish text and over 2,000 ink and watercolor illustrations. The artworks featured in Sandy Rodriguez in Isolation activate this history by documenting the ecosystem of Rodriguez’s quarantine—with annotations in Cahuilla, Spanish, Latin, and English—to demonstrate plant knowledge over time while amplifying Indigenous insight on the medicinal and aesthetic significance of local plants and pigments. The exhibition also highlights Rodriguez’s use of amate paper, a symbol of Indigenous culture that, having been used for codices and artworks, was destroyed and outlawed under Spanish rule. Rodriguez’s works are painted on amate paper made from bark by a fifth-generation Otomi papermaking family in Puebla, Mexico.

Sandy Rodriguez in Isolation is organized by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Exemplifying the Carter’s mission to tell new and important stories of American art, Sandy Rodriguez in Isolation is part of a yearlong exhibition program celebrating the museum’s 60th year of collecting, preserving, and exhibiting the finest examples of American creativity.