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Mareo Rodriguez turns the play of tectonic forces onto sculptural installations

The cracks, fissures and tension experienced by Earth open the way for Mexican artist Mareo Rodriguez to reimagine the unseen tensions with immersive spatial experience.

by Dilpreet BhullarPublished on : Jun 21, 2022

The tectonic movement opens a void at one place to initiate the process of convergence at another. The constant reconfiguration of the earthly matter, even if invisible to the naked eye, casts an experiential effect on the human body. The imperceptibility of these travel paths for the Mexico-born multimedia artist, Mareo Rodriguez, currently residing in Barcelona, is a point of entry to underline the unknown in the face of the human tendency to overpower the things of matter. The natural territory with its distinctive topography is galvanised with the tactile quality with , Mareo’s works – be it paintings and sculptural installations – to acquaint the viewers with a variety of tension punctuating the planetary motions. The spectrum of works from the dimension of a mountain and rock to a fragmented piece of rock is a language of art which is, in the words of Mareo, "a direct line of communication with an upper source; the artist then is nothing but a channel to materialise and convey that message."

Portals main installation | Mareo Rodriguez | STIRworld
Portals, Main installation Image: Courtesy of Mareo Rodriguez

To visually trace the origin of the matter, Mareo looks at it as "a condensation of light", which over the period of time undergoes the "process of transformation and expansion of energy over time". The monochromatic palette, dominated by the colour black conspicuous in the practice of Mareo, reveals its metaphorical power associated with pain, death and mourning. "The colour black…", in an interview with STIR, Mareo mentions, "…has acquired a new connotation in my production, I work with the concepts of light and matter; in this sense black represents all physical planes, and in turn is the colour that best seeks light when it reflects. I also work with the colour white in less proportion; with the colour white it is all about the shadows, with the colour black it is all about the light.” 

Portals' Installation | Mareo Rodriguez | STIRworld
The installation Portals by Mareo Rodriguez Image: Courtesy of Mareo Rodriguez

Since the vastness of nature demands the constant exercise of exploration, Mareo with his paintings and sculptures is experimenting with the material, resources and technique. Subsequently what the viewers see is a wide range of artworks that carry a distinct appearance, only to translate the characteristic abundance available in nature. The paintings with the layers of the singular glazes and textures put to fore the expanse of tensions experienced by the layered surface of the earth. On other hand, the sculptures in the defined geometrical shapes reveal the pattern of topography be it manifested in folds, reliefs or contours. 

Artist Mareo Rodriguez | STIRworld
Artist Mareo Rodriguez Image: Courtesy of Alejandro Arango

Given the scale and scope of the works, one is inclined to make an assumption that a well-sorted blueprint sets the course of the journey towards the realisation of the final production. But Mareo shares, “There is no specific formula to start a creative process, it can arise through a dream, a conversation, a trip, a memory, a song, a landscape, and a crack in the pavement. My creative process works with the mental associations, that in turn try to match with my emotional and spiritual moment. The artistic work is nothing more than a reflection of the inner world that feeds on the overall exercise of human interactions and relationships." Having said that, Mareo maintains to translate these conceptual thought processes into the framework of, "the three-dimensional sketches, which I render to create simulations, using analog and digital tools for the conceptualisation and visualisation phase of the installations.”

Portals 34, Copper | Mareo Rodriguez | STIRworld
Portals 34, copper Image: Courtesy of Mareo Rodriguez

After completing a degree in fine arts in 2007, followed by masters in both Design and Fine Arts in 2013, Mareo soon graduated with a degree in Architecture at U.P.B. Medellín, Colombia, in 2004. Trained as an architect with a specialisation in interior design, and having worked 12 years within this discipline offers him a good understanding of space, three-dimensionality, the use of materials, light and shadows, while scale and proportion is also super important. “For this reason,” Mareo explains, “whenever I have the opportunity, I try to articulate it with the artwork so that there is a dialogue and it is inserted as best as possible.” 

A visitor at the installation Portals | Mareo Rodriguez | STIRworld
A visitor at the installation Portals Image: Courtesy of Mareo Rodriguez

With the latest exhibition Portals at Valletta Contemporary, Malta, Mareo had put its natural architectural elements such as stone arches and contemporary material into good service in an effort to rightly complement them with the series of sculptural installation Portals. The large-scale installation of the LED light suspended from the roof to the floor giving an appearance of a disjointed line at the entrance of the space recreates the outline of the Andes Mountain ranges. Another installation has a life-size monumental black canvas, poised on the floor from the ceiling, carrying a streak of the white fissure, accurately extending to the ground of the hall as a black crack. With this exhibition, “I tried to make the most of the language of the space with the light installations specially and the result was incredible.”

A walkthrough of the installation Portals Video: Courtesy of Mareo Rodriguez

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