My work draws on two discrete but related subjects. The first being psychological research on the human emotion of awe - essentially a sense of vastness accompanied by an urgent need for accommodation. We experience this when seeing something like a magnificent vista or a tornado ripping across the landscape. The second is modern physics - both established and theoretical - regarding the fundamental nature of the universe. These two fields and their relationship to being human are why I make paintings.
Using physics as a metaphor, I’ve created a conceptual framework which I’ve nicknamed "the structure". The job of the structure is to form a compositional device that allows me to move freely and provide an infinite array of variables to work from (or against) as I make work. Oscillating electromagnetic waves, Faraday lines, quantum gravity, space grains, particles and fields are some of the ideas I utilize. I’m not a scientist, but rather an abstract painter who wants to construct visual topographies that correspond with what we know or suspect about reality.
Awe can be summarized as a sublime, overpowering and novel sensory experience that causes confusion, amazement, and reverence. It can be both profoundly positive and terrifyingly negative. This inherent paradox hinges on whether we are able to accept what we see, or not. This peak moment is something we can feel when alone, outside of social contexts, and it’s closely related to why art resonates with people.
As elevated as all this may sound, we experience awe at the universe through our emotions in a quotidian context- we get our minds blown by a DaVinci or a Doig while in our blue jeans and sneakers in a gallery, or the Grand Canyon as we gently sip our coffee or a glass of wine. We gaze out into infinity in our plain clothes and simple habits. These humble materials are an important aspect of placing the work in our present day, in a non-religious, humanist tradition.
-Miguel Rodriguez, August, 2019