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What's Love Got to Do with It?
CRUSH! Saturday, Feb. 15, art opening, singles cocktail party

Mexican Viagra
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San Miguel Sunday: You normally paint portraits and scenes. Why did you choose to do still lives for your upcoming show, CRUSH?

Isis Rodriquez: I like telling stories. A still life is a robust way to arrange symbolic objects that reflect contemporary concerns, like dating and being a man.

Mexican Viagra is a painting representing the secret sexual myth of men. These are the objects of sexual paraphernalia. They are commonly thought of and used as aphrodisiacs in Latin American. Here we have cultural and masculine fears and desires in one painting. Alcohol is always present on all the dates I have been on being a single woman. Rattle snake teeth are sold in jars by Mexican brujos (witches) to make men virile.

Mexican Viagra is a painting of archetypes that represent the irony of it all. These are objects that are taboo. The objects I have in those paintings are things that are dangerous in society. Men are always subject to death. Imagine considering rattlesnake teeth a male aphrodisiac, to make men virile. We don't see men as pillars of beauty and sexuality. That belongs to the realm of women. At best we see men as protectors. That is from a straight perspective. But if you were talking to a gay crowd, then it would be totally different men. There men are seen as pillars of beauty and strength.

SMS: How did you come to acquire such sensitivity towards men?

Isis: I grew up as a tomboy. I did not feel feel men as the other until I became an adolescent and the hormones started kicking in. Perhaps because of my tomboy past, as I matured I came to enjoy men's sense of adventure and also their sense of humor. They are always willing to entertain. They aren't afraid of being foolish or silly and that's something I really appreciated. My admiration for their humor and strength allows me to engage in their personal stories.

SMS: There is a sexual tension or longing in this painting.

Isis: Females are taught from the time that we are little girls to be careful talking to strangers, especially strange men. In dating we are never supposed to make the first move. If women are reckless with men, they are usually drunk at a bar. Usually we are very cautious.

We are taught to fear men and particularly their sexual organ. The penis it is something that can be used against us. We are taught to be afraid of being raped and killed. That is something that young women are told when they are at the age of dating: men are predators; be careful, they can't control it. The penis becomes something that can cause us pain and suffering. We don't want to know about it

Women have good reason to be careful. In myth there are plenty of stories of rape and pillage. Growing up as I did in a Latin culture with a Puerto Rican mother and Mexican father, I was chaperoned on my dates. I wasn't allowed to go out by myself on a date until I was 18, and even then I had my father telling me be careful.

As you get older and start to get realize that not all, not even most men are like that. in fact, men are operating from a place of fear, their own fear of what they think think women are like. All you have to do is watch those movies from the 80s, college campus life, like American Pie. Those were full of lots of sexual mythology about women.


Nurse with a Purse
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SMS: What is the story of this second painting, Nurse with a Purse?

Isis: Nurse with a Purse draws on what happens when a woman reaches or approaches menopause. the changes of a woman's body. On one hand there is the being released from the suffering of monthly periods. But menopause has its own suffering, its own changes of hormones. Nurse with a Purse is about objects that women use to overcome the pain and suffering resulting from changes over which we have no control. In the painting is a pot pipe. Marijuana is now medicalized; people are using it to relieve pain, not just to have fun. At this period of life women still want to feel attractive. We are not ready to be old yet. We still have feelings of youthfulness. Women still desire sexual interaction and intimacy even though the hormonal changes lower your libido and can make you feel unworthy. Once I started going through menopause there was nothing to celebrate about it at all.

SMS: Why do you call the painting "Nurse with a Purse"?

Isis: As a woman in her 50's, I hear plenty of single women warning me, "Don't be a nurse with a purse," referring to going out with young men and bankrolling dates, letting them live with me for free, enabling the equivalent of a "gold digger". I wanted to take this ironic perception, that of a young man. i wanted to provoke the audience, asking, "Are the objects in this still life for her pleasure or for his?"

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CRUSH! What's Love Got to Do with It?
Saturday, February 15, 5-7pm art opening; 7-9pm singles cocktail party
Galería Nepantla, Pablo Yáñez 9, Col. Independencia
free

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Isis Rodriguez, received her degree in painting from the University of Kansas in 1989 and studied at the San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco California. Her 1st solo exhibition, "My Life as a Comic Stripper" debuted in 1997 at Galeria de la Raza, and was an investigation of sex positive feminism, primarily exotic dancers, questioning whether their work was a moral issue or a labor issue, scandalizing the feminist community. Later that year she was recognized as one of San Francisco's most promising artists in the show "Bay Area Now" at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She has exihibited internationally, at the Museum Timoteo Navarro, Tucumán, Argentina, and Museo Regional de Guanajuato at La Cervantino Festival. Her artwork has been critiqued and published in several books, including Judy Chicago and Edward Lucie Smith's Women and Art: Contested Territory and Vicious, Delicious, and Ambitious: 20th Century Women Artists.

In 2008, Isis went to an artist residency in Oaxaca Mexico "La Curtiduria" where she began working on a series called, "Legends from the Realm of Nepantla", of masked women archetypes in lingerie and military uniforms. 2017, Isis opened the doors to Galeria Nepantla in San Miguel de Allende, where she enjoys sharing with the public her vision of conflict resolution.

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