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A Solo Exhibition, by Julio C. Rodriguez

MAINTENANCE. The work of taking care.

Opening 3/15/2024 – 4/21/2024


Years ago, on an evening walk through the city I came across a dusty, flopped over traffic cone on the sidewalk. Traffic cones were a part of the landscape I grew up in, so I had seen hundreds, but this one struck me in a new way.


I was drawn to the immediacy in which it communicated a sense of exhaustion. Nothing left to give, no longer able to perform its function, yet still made to show up and face the world. It felt like a living meme; the image in front of me and the caption forming into words in my mind. “That feeling when.”


Since then, I’ve collected digital archives of city moments and internet memes that resonate with me in a similar way. I use these as references for visual works in which I try to examine the layered feelings they stir up in me. Like how it feels managing the weight of the individual and collective experiences, growing up a first-generation child of immigrants. Or how it feels trying to exist in an environment in which the systems in power profit from violence and exploitation? Or feeling unable to access the care needed to grow and fully enjoy oneself.



It’s often easier to recognize signs of the lack of care in the external world than in ourselves. The works in this exhibition are an exploration of my feelings of burnout. I recreate city scenes or memes to help remind myself to look at the maintenance I may need. This is part of what I do to avoid breaking down, to try and keep myself in good condition. 

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