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Crush! What's Love Got to Do With It?

Online Closing Exhibit, Sat, Feb. 20

by Isis Rodriguez.

A concept gallery is one in which an artist investigates concepts, topics, that inspire them. Working with these themes, the artist then reveals to the public what she/he has discovered about them through paintings, sculpture, performance, videos and / or installations.

I first open the doors to my the concept gallery, Galeria Nepantla, in 2017 with a series of paintings of glamorous women dressed in lingerie, ski masks and military attire. This series, called "Legends from the Realm of Nepantla." explores the concept of powerful women battling shame.

The term "nepantla" is a 16th century Aztec word that means, "in the middle of it." It is a useful word for describing the traumatic cultural crossroads the indigenous people faced during the Spanish conquest. I find inspiration from painting my personal "nepantlas." In this I create new archetypes that embody the conflict and healing of ancestral traumas, unresolved issues from dysfunctional families, past wars, political agendas... that are passed on to the future generations.

"CRUSH! What's Love Got to Do With It?," my upcoming show focuses on the topic of unconditional love. In the exhibit I play with the two meanings of the American slang word "crush":

1. to be infatuated by a person; you have a "crush" on someone.
2. to be "crushed" by the fact that the person you met is not who you thought they were, or that they just don't like you.
After the end of a long-term relationship I found myself, a straight, single woman, in love with the idea of building the last chapter of my life with someone, wondering what that could be like.

I researched dating coaches, followed their advice and dived into online dating apps: Tinder, Ok Cupid and Bumble. But during an entire year dating and interviewing people what I found out went beyond my expectations.

I wanted to do paintings that recorded my experiences of the patterns I saw in men and women. These I distilled into two archetypes: a male, "The Unbroken" and a female, "Gone!" These archetypes embody desire, pain and resilience.

The Unbroken

"The Unbroken" is an archetype based on my conversations with men that I went out with. All were positive and optimistic at first. However, most eventually revealed childhood traumas, work abuse and other battles; confessing the difficulties they felt surviving as fathers and providers. These discussions inspired me to paint an Iberian bull, one of the most abused animals in the planet, used in the horrifying spectacles of the bull-fight, still practiced in San Miguel, where the torture ends with a sword through the heart.


After I had retired from exotic dancing at 36, I dreamed of a woman in red lingerie with a suitcase waiting for a train. When the train arrived, she looked back at me and boarded it. A few days later, I began having hot flashes, the first sign of perimenopause. "Gone!" is an archetype based on the American slang "cougar" meaning "an older woman who hunts young men." The corsage, having been used as an antioxidant and pain-reliever, references healing powers.

As we age our priorities change. The nature of intimacy transforms into unconditional love qqq. Many of us in the over-40 crowd have already created a family, home and career. Many of us have already been through a separation and have been crushed qqq by the disappointments of life. Now the question is, "What is it going to take for us to be in a relationship again?"

My mission with this series is to help people reconnect with love again and redefine the importance of it.


Closing show for CRUSH! (Galeria Nepantla) will be ONLINE from 4-6pm, Sat, Feb. 20.

Isis will be giving a tour of her art and discussing its meaning. There will be a question and answer period.

Email Isis at or click on this link to make your reservation:


Isis Rodriguez has been an artist for over 20 years, originally from San Francisco California. She received her Bachelors of Fine Art in painting from the University of Kansas in 1988 and moved to San Francisco to attend the San Francisco Art Institute. Isis began her investigations with sex positive feminism by working at a strip club to gather evidence and created her first series called, "My Life as a Comic Stripper" in 1997 at the Galeria de La Raza, San Francisco CA. She has continued exhibiting internationally at Cervantino Festival Guanajuato Mexico, in 2007, El Faro Centro Cultural, San Miguel de Allende 2015, and currently out of her concept gallery, Galeria Nepantla. To support Isis, go to:

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