Now as Then
Leyden Rodriguez Casanova
David Castillo Gallery is proud to present the solo exhibition of Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, Now As Then. This is the artist’s first solo show with the gallery, and he has exhibited previously in the group show Destroy This City. This exhibition is the first by the artist, which consists of mostly objects informed by the themes the artist has been exploring for several years, including domesticity, memory, nostalgia, and the banality of suburban life. Rodriguez-Casanova employs the Minimalist language to great effect using everyday objects in the dissection of the absoluteness of the everyday or commonplace.
An integral concept behind his work, both in the current body of new sculptures and to his larger oeuvre, is making yourself at home or home making. Rodriguez-Casanova explores how home making is something every human is actively involved in across any and all backgrounds which serve to differentiate. It is common ground for all human beings. Home making or the domestic environment is always in flux, always improving upon itself. Rebuilding a feeling of home is embodied in the artist’s sculptures.
As commentary, the works investigate why some objects are given greater importance than others in the domestic environment. This in turn leads to exploring belief systems of why people in their private spheres work extremely hard at creating things or building up an environment that is known perhaps only to them and never to the outside world. Several pieces in the exhibition explore all these ideas in depth. For instance, Two Gates Supporting Each Other, are two gates leaning on one another for support. The gate is supposed to be an impenetrable object, cordoning off our private lives and to a certain extent, our thoughts and very existence. The piece draws sharply on those intimate beliefs of private or personal space by making the gates vulnerable and dependent on each other to function at all. They are co-dependent gates.
Another work entitled First Cabinet Structure is an actual household storage system, which the artist built himself. As a storage unit, these objects are receptacles not only for things we accumulate over a lifetime, but receptacles for our memories, dreams, and identities as it were. By leaving the cabinets empty, the work is a contradiction of the object’s function, a contradiction which is also a critique of human contradictions in time and in society.
Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova is a Miami-based artist, whose family immigrated to the United States from Cuba during the Mariel Boatlift in 1980, a series of events that assiduously inform his body of work. He was a founding member of the artist-run exhibition space The Box, in Miami, Florida from 1997-2004. He studied at the Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida and the New World School of the Arts in Miami. He recently received a Reed Foundation Fellowship to develop new work at the Vermont Studio Center. He has received prestigious awards including the South Florida Cultural Consortium and has given talks at several Miami cultural institutions including Locust Projects, the University of Miami, and the Miami Art Museum, among others. He has exhibited in Miami & New York, and his work has been featured in publications such as The Miami Herald, Artnet Magazine, and Art in America. He is currently a finalist for the Cintas Foundation Fellowship, and will exhibit work for the fellowship’s finalists’ group show at the Frost Museum of Art, Florida International University.