Artist in Residence: Allison Maria Rodriguez, Interdisciplinary Artist
Allison Maria Rodriguez is a first-generation Cuban-American interdisciplinary artist working predominantly in video installation and new media. She creates immersive experiential spaces that challenge conventional ways of knowing and understanding the world. Her work focuses extensively on climate change, species extinction and the interconnectivity of existence. Through video, performance, digital animation, photography, drawing, collage and installation, Rodriguez merges and blends mediums to create new pictorial spaces for aesthetic, emotional and conceptual exploration. She uses art to communicate beyond language – to open up a space of possibility for the viewer to encounter alternative ways of connecting to the emotional realities of others.
Rodriguez’s work has been exhibited internationally, throughout the country and extensively in the New England area, in both traditional and non-traditional art spaces. Her immersive and/or large-scale installations have been exhibited in venues such as the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Digital Arts Studios (Northern Ireland), Montserrat Gallery, Smack Mellon, Fitchburg Art Museum, Gallery 360 at Northeastern University, Emerson Contemporary, Milton Academy, Installation Space, Boston Cyberarts Gallery, Blockfort Gallery, Spoke Gallery, 13Forest Gallery, Fountain Street Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston Children’s Museum, and Dorchester Art Project, among others. Her projects also include several public art video installations commissioned by organizations such as Illuminus Boston, Boston Cyberarts, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, and the Jewish Arts Collaborative.
Her work has been supported by grants from The Boston Foundation, Mass Cultural Council, The Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Red Bull Arts, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, CreateWell Fund, Boston Cultural Council, Arlington Cultural Council, Archie D. & Bertha H. Walker Foundation and Assets for Artists. Rodriguez is a Brother Thomas Fellow of The Boston Foundation (2021-22), and has also been awarded an Earthwatch Communications Fellowship (2018) and the grand prize at the Creative Climate Awards (2017). In 2019 she was recognized by WBUR’s The ARTery as one of “The ARTery 25”, an inaugural celebration of 25 creatives of color impacting Boston’s arts and culture scene.
Rodriguez received her MFA from Tufts University/The School of the Museum of Fine Arts and holds a BA in Language, Literature and Culture from Antioch College in OH, obtained also through study at Oxford University in England and Kyoto Seika University in Japan. She is also an independent curator and arts educator , and has taught courses in art theory and media production in a variety of contexts. Prior to her residency at BTI, Rodriguez was honored as the 2023 International Guest Artist-in-Residence at Digital Arts Studios in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has also been a resident at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre (Manitoba, Canada), the Ragdale Foundation, the Dorchester Art Project (inaugural resident), Wassaic Project, Arts Letters & Numbers, and The Studios at MASS MoCA. She has her studio at Midway Artist Studios in Boston, MA.
Legends Breathe - Montserrat Gallery, 2023
BTI Artist-in-Residence Program & Multi-Media Art Installation
Rodriguez’s work with BTI will focus on two primary elements: first, the conceptual and logistical development of an ongoing Artist-in-Residence (AiR) program for the BTI and secondly the development and exhibition of a multimedia art project. Rodriguez will be in residence for two years to allow time for the development of the structure and functionality of the AiR position in preparation for future artists while also piloting the program with her own BTI project.
The art project is a multimedia art installation focused on the power of creativity and the imagination in overcoming trauma (title TBA). It is a new iteration and further development of a previously successful project entitled “Legends Breathe” in which she conducted interviews with different artists about childhood fantasies that assisted them in overcoming trauma. She then created individual multimedia videos (using an assortment of mediums & techniques including green screen video, on-location video, drawing, digitally generated imagery, photography, performance, sculpture, collage, etc) exploring those fantasies and exhibited them together as a large-scale immersive video installation.
She will be using a similar strategy but will be working with scientists rather than artists. Through her residencies and volunteer work with scientists over the years, Rodriguez has been inspired by the similarities in processes of “making” both science and art. Curiosity, exploration, strategy, uncertainty, play, failure - and perhaps most importantly an openness to the unknown - are integral to the results and the making of both science and art. Her project overall will not only speak to creativity as a methodology for survival, but also as a potential outcome from the experience of trauma. Rodriguez believes that enhanced creativity is sometimes a direct result of the fact that the experience of trauma exists outside of language, and thereby outside of traditional methods of communication. She also recognizes fantasy and play as skill sets in the project of social and environmental justice movements (we need to be able to imagine the world differently in order to make it different). Her project at BTI would not only highlight the significance and value of these skill sets, but also that creativity is not only a technique utilized by artists, but by scientists as well.
For additional information about the BTI Artist in Residence program please reach out to the Biology of Trauma leadership team at Biologyoftrauma@