THOUGHTS AND MUSINGS: DIDI ROJAS
On the occasion of her follow up solo exhibition to You're Doing Amazing Sweetie, Christin Graham details the evolution within Rojas' latest work. Sharing perspectives and unique insight, Graham explores the remarkable depth to Rojas' newest show Felt Cute, Might Delete Later.
Whenever I enter a gallery my mood and demeanor always change. My thoughts move to – What does the work mean? Where’s the press release? What is an adequate amount of time to look at a piece before moving onto the next? With Rojas’ show - Felt Cute, Might Delete Later - those questions subside and I am met with puzzling musings about how she wove hundreds of shoe laces across a dozen canvases.
Rojas meets us in the middle. She makes me think about lines, movement, push and pull. In a conversation we had at her studio months before the opening, she showed us the new works. Rojas explained the act of making, weaving shoelaces across each canvas, was a similar motion to that of coiling clay. Roajs’ first show at Launch F18 in 2019 was strictly clay. Dozens of carefully crafted shoes, painted and glazed to reflect our very instinctual need to consume. Admittedly, 2 days before the show I went out and bought a new pair of Adidas sneakers (which I have been buying ever since). Rojas’ second show leaves us with even more to think about. The designs on each canvas are intricate and they make me think about the work of Ruth Asawa
Didi Rojas. You're Doing Amazing Sweetie. September 7 - October 19, 2019. LAUNCH F18, New York
Rojas and Asawa share a special relationship to repetition and subtle hints of the artist’s hand. Asawa, who joined Black Mountain College as a full time student in 1946, is best known for her all encompassing wire sculptures. Her complicated and later widespread recognition has caused a resurgence in the interest of her work. But if anyone were to see her sculptures in person (or even in a photograph) the striking singularity and uniqueness of them could knock you off your feet. Similarly to her, Rojas' woven canvases give me that feeling.
I THINK THE BRILLIANCE IN ROJAS' WORK LIES WITHIN HER ABILITY TO FOLLOW A LINE AND BREAK IT AT THE SAME TIME. SHE CUTS CANVASES IN HALF, A SHARP LINE OF ONE PATTERN AGAINST ANOTHER...
What strikes me most about both the works is the pattern. Peer into any one of Rojas’ ceramic shoes and you see the coil, exposed and raw to the viewer's eye. Alternatively, stand a few paces back from any group of her canvases and you are met with a swirling, interconnected dizziness of multiple patterns. I think the brilliance in Rojas’ work lies within her ability to follow a line and break it at the same time. She cuts canvases in half, a sharp line of one pattern against another, or she mixes tones - so what was a monochromatic body of work is now infiltrated with dusty grays. Her process is not hidden, and like Asawa's work, I can feel the movement and act of making in each piece.
Didi Rojas. To cheer up, whisper “beep boop” to yourself. Repeat until not sad. 2021-2022. Shoelaces woven over canvas, 20 x 24 in (50.8 x 60.9 cm). Unique.
Weaving makes me think of baskets, pot holders as christmas gifts, my nana’s sweaters with ducks dutifully stamped across the front. It makes me think in a more serious sense about history, and the Neolithic times. It seems strange to me to mark an era by our use of tools, but fast forward to now and we are in the midst of a technological revolution. One that is only going to grow. Rojas’ work brings us back to basics, it’s commonality and deep cultural ties across the globe leave us with one foot in the present (wearing a Prada sandal) and one in the past. Finally, on an even deeper level, Rojas’ work makes me think of connection, of depth, of DNA, and a slippery slope into an existential crisis of what it means to be human and our connection to the outside world. So in short, the point is that instead of wondering if I have looked at a piece for an appropriate amount of time, Rojas’ works bring me outside of myself– where time is of no concern and I am able to sink even deeper into the exploration of material and the mind.
To explore more from Rojas' current exhibition, Felt Cute, Might Delete Later visit launchf18.com