In September, the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum and Flagler College will welcome Austin, Texas-based artist Liz Rodda. The exhibition will include new video, sculpture, and two-dimensional works.
In conjunction with Flagler College’s “Ideas and Images: Visiting Scholars and Artists” program, we will host an artist talk on Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Gamache-Koger Theater, located at 50 Sevilla Street in the Ringhaver Student Center. This will be followed by an opening reception at the museum on Sept. 7 from 5 to 9 p.m. The exhibition will continue through Oct. 18.
Rodda’s varied practice can best be described as an investigation into our notions of fate, personal control, and the future. She uses video and sculpture as a means to negotiate how these ideas affect and are affected by belief systems, and conversely, our skepticism of those systems. Considered “psychological experiments or riddles that lack the necessary information to be solved, the works produce moments of confusion in which expectations are set and dashed just before judgment can be made.” As such, the circle is a recurrent emblem within Clockwise. Rather than representing unity or wholeness, here it may also reference “cyclical behavior, circular reasoning or the sensation of being permanently caught in a moment just before and after an important event.”
In the video Stabilizer, we see a group of people watching a tsunami happening or, it is unclear, it’s aftermath. The artist uses an effect that both guides and confuses how the viewer experiences this recorded event. Never allowed to consider the scene for long enough in order to grasp the situation, we are ultimately left disoriented and dissatisfied. In Death Drive, the artist juxtaposes two videos. The first is shown from the perspective of the driver driving through the Grand Canyon, while the other video presents us with a car stuck in reverse. Accompanied by a recording of a warped LP, each element is seemingly without beginning or end. Death Drive refers to the term of the same name that Sigmund Freud uses to describe a force that makes us behave in ways that are counter-intuitive. In their own way, each of these works signal the knowledge that our paths may not follow a straight trajectory, and touch upon an ever fluctuating present and future in which the range of control varies considerably.
These works are the result of what the artist describes as questioning, “the intersection between what we believe and what we know as well as the degree to which thought can direct outcome of experience.” Challenging the notions of skepticism and belief, both the sculpture and video often belie any delineation between the two. The materials Rodda incorporates into her sculpture further suggest this approach. Common household and office products replace other more traditional materials: popcorn ceiling spray coats a small igloo in Gravity, and Epsom salts spell out the idiom, “Plan B.” Rodda similarly embraces non-scientific products that are used in “alternative health therapies,” such as yoga balls and magnets. These “innocuous materials become heavy with new, complicated associations as they are combined with disparate ideas and objects.”
Rodda received a B.A. from Willamette University, Salem, Oregon (2004) and an M.F.A. from Massachusetts College of Art & Design, Boston, MA (2006). She has exhibited both nationally and internationally, with recent solo exhibition at Texas State University (2012) and Brand 10 Art Space in Fort Worth (2011). Her work has been presented in thematic exhibitions including the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (2012), the Contemporary New Media Audio-Visual Festival, Madrid, Spain (2012), Shoshana Wayne, Los Angeles, CA (2011) and Columbus State University, Columbus, GA (2011). She currently lives and works in Austin, Texas where she is an Assistant Professor in the School of Art + Design at Texas State University, San Marcos.