Artist Michelle Rodrigues is a painter and art therapy student practicing in Toronto, Ontario. Her work titled Subjugate [below] examines the relationship between the walls we put up ourselves versus the walls that are imposed on us, exploring an inner struggle of who and what to trust.
With her paint, Rodrigues depicts the walls that are needed to protect oneself, and the ones that are built as a cage. The textures and patterns resemble those often found in nature, such as fractals, bubbles, and cracks. Elements of the composition could even be reminiscent of a landscape. Yet the bright, neon colors feel synthetic, possibly emphasizing the layered meaning in the definition of subjugate – to overcome and to overpower.
The work also has a curiously immersive quality, where the viewer might feel as if they could become absorbed by it. From one perspective, the piece has an infinite feeling of depth within the pools of iridescent color and amidst the valleys and peaks of layered materials. At the same time, the thin layers of paint masking describe a flat and shallow surface. Perhaps swinging from one opposite viewpoint to the other conveys a dual relationship of walls and the various boundaries that serve to divide us.
Collaborative commentary by Maria Borghoff & Michelle Rodrigues