Lesha Maria Rodriguez shifts the understandings of what is important and characteristic about the photographic process from its physical manifestations in the expressive object to the process in its entirety, a process whose fundamental element is no longer the material work of art but rather the development of an experience. Although the initial impression is a critical approach to anthropology for reducing culture, she seeks to elucidate both sides, Colonialist/Tourist and the Other, to demonstrate the process of cultural reduction, at the same time defending the independence of lived culture from anthropological reductionism. The anthropological insufficiency of the human species, with its limited field of vision, the pitiful inability of humans to gain a full picture of themselves without turning to the unreality of a room filled with distorting mirrors, as has been emphasized from Ernst Mac to Jacque Lacan. Her works are not in efforts to emphasize or imply that the individual art object has lost significance, but rather that the object is recognized as the primary site for the dialectical processes of experience, as the unifying occasion for these experiences. Through the expressive object, the artist and the active observer encounter each other, their material and mental environments, and their cultures at large. She seeks to emphasize in what ways that experience, as aesthetic, is a manifestation, a record and celebration of the life of a civilization.
Rodriguez's art engages temporal themes through installations that offer an opportunity to engage a participatory oeuvre. Acknowledging that the viewer is coming in with a preconceived notion of how the world is organized, through acculturation or commodification of the senses, she exposes the breathe and depth that prevents us from experiencing something phenomenologically. In doing so, she shows that our senses are no longer natural, they are culturally produced, and the commodification of our sense has generalized the way we see the world. The blur is a shift between different modes of spatialization and temporization, the finished image resulting from this transformation evolves in terms from the prior picture in which the significant shape of the sphere can be discerned, just as the photograph loses its contours as the firm shape of the trees and arches dissolves into fog. The transformation, which provides a theme, for the ironic narrative of the print, occurs as the image blurs. The spatial coordinates temporarily dissolve and blur to become a diffuse impression. Rodriguez views the optical technology of film and photography as a means of transcending the imperceptible and undiscerning presence of a field. She no more trusts new media technology to aid in achieving a better position from which to view the world than outmoded photography techniques. The indistinct image from our memories, the internal reference to objecthood that appears to be latent in these pictures is a reference to something torn out of time.
- Eun Jung Park
John Dewey. Art as experience. New York: Perigee Books, 2005, c1934.
Michael T. Tuassig. Mimesis and alterity: a particular history of the senses. New York: Routledge, 1993.