Hutchinson Modern & Contemporary is pleased to present its inaugural exhibition Freddy Rodríguez: Early Paintings 1970-1990, spanning the first two decades of the sixty-year decade-long artistic career of the New York-based Dominican-born artist Freddy Rodríguez.
The exhibition features an array of his paintings from the 1970s and 1980s, including works from his Paradise (1985-1988) and Cimarrón (1985-1988) series, alongside a selection of his never before exhibited collages revealing Rodríguez’s multifaceted and varied practice.
Since the 1970s, the artist has been creating a consistent body of work adopting former Hard-edge, Geometric Abstraction, and Minimalist aesthetics seen in his Geometries (1970-1990) series, later expanding upon expressionist vocabularies to convey Afro-Dominican histories, as well as the transnational dialogues between the Dominican diaspora and the homeland.
Born in 1945 in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, Rodríguez moved to New York City in 1963 after fleeing Rafael Trujillo’s dictatorship (1930-1961), a period marked by severe social and political upheaval. In 1961, Trujillo’s three-decade-long dictatorship ended with his assassination, following several years of political turmoil, and later culminating with the 1965 Civil War. Being drafted into the U.S. army in 1966, Rodríguez resided between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico before settling again permanently in New York City in 1968. Here he proceeded to study painting at the New School for Social Research, and textile design at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Working in Greenwich Village, West Village, Chelsea, and Williamsburg during the seventies and eighties, the artist explores the relationship between personal narratives and collective memory in Latinx communities.
Presenting a highly abbreviated view of Rodriguez’s oeuvre, the exhibition and the online viewing room introduce one of the many Latinx artists continuing to challenge assumptions of Caribbean national belonging, suggesting myriad ways to look at island-based and diasporic relations. Bridging geometric abstraction and figurative language, Rodriguez’s works on view attest that the artist’s exploration has not only been artistic, but also political in character.
Rodríguez has exhibited in numerous group and individual shows, including The Illusive Eye, El Museo del Barrio, New York City (2016); Caribbean Art at the Crossroads of the World, Pérez Art Museum, Miami (2014); and Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC (2013); among many other. His work can be found in various public collections, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC; National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC; El Museo del Barrio, New York City; The Newark Museum, New Jersey; Jersey City Museum, New Jersey; Queens Museum of Art, New York City; Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York City; and the Museo de Las Casas Reales, Santo Domingo. He is also the subject of a forthcoming monograph by the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Acting Chief Curator and Curator of Latinx Art, Dr. E. Carmen Ramos, as part of the A Ver: Revisioning Art History book series published by the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center.