January 16 – April 3, 2016

Born in Chicago in 1970, Carlos Rolón/Dzine has been recognized for his elaborately crafted paintings, ornate sculptures and works that come out of American, Latino and uniquely based subcultures. His studio practice investigates pop culture, craft, ritual, beauty and its relationship to art history, subculture, appropriation and the institution. As a first-generation immigrant of Puerto Rican decent, the artist creates objects questioning the concept of luxury and craft making to explore questions of identity, integration and aspiration. His work also represents a detailed examination of curiosity and the process of art making and the cultures surrounding this.

Rolón’s oeuvre often addresses his biography by melding memory and the imaginary with carefully crafted, hybrid works that are playfully situated between the contradictory worlds of conspicuous consumption and urban artifact. His work is at once melancholic, excessive and exuberant, poised somewhere between celebration and regret. He illuminates how the masculine can become delicate and the how the baroque can be minimal. The artist often channels this approach with site-specific installation work, vivid large-scale paintings and ornate sculptures in various materials expanding on ideas of self-reflection and imagined luxury. This approach questions not only cultural identity, but also its place within the confines of the institution. The works ultimately produce a hybrid language of social practice, painting and sculpture inviting the viewer to engage in discourse and discussion.

In his newest installation, Carlos Rolón/Dzine: Commonwealth, he transforms the gallery environment into an actual inner-city barbershop, with its authentic sounds, aromas, and rambunctiousness; the viewer is immersed into a visceral, boisterous, yet subtly nuanced cultural platform. During the opening performance Chicago barbers from the Bladez of Glory barbershop will create six unique haircuts on-site, literally altering the viewer experience from spectator to performer. This work includes a three-channel video.

A second installation, Rolón’s Nomadic Habitat (Hustleman), which is a collaboration with Garland Gantt, a Chicago street vendor, explores another realm of urban commerce, community relationships, sustainability, and the visual cultural richness of a vending cart; this ready-made was debuted at the Arts Incubator Gallery on the Chicago’s South Side last month.

The viewer experience continues with Rolón’s all-enveloping, luxurious wall treatments, highly finished fragmented mirrors, and a collection of rococo inflected Chinese porcelain vessels with Puerto Rican flare. Additional sculptures such as golden masks and dynamic oversized hair-pick will also fill the gallery space. Rolón’s highly finished exotic objects d’art initiate us into the Commonwealth of Carlos Rolón, engaging us into a richer, broader cultural exchange.

Rolón has had solo exhibitions at The Dallas Contemporary, Dallas; Bass Museum of Art, Miami; Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK; Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico; and CAM Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis. His work has also been exhibited in group shows at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Marta Herford Museum, Herford, Germany; Museum Het Domein, Sittard, The Netherlands; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Museo del Barrio, New York and Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno (CAAM), Canary Islands. In 2007 Rolón represented Ukraine in the 52nd Venice Biennale. He is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation award for Painting and Sculpture.

Rolón’s work is included in the following public collections: Bass Museum of Art, Miami; Brooklyn Museum, New York; City of Chicago Public Art Collection; Deagu Art Museum, Deagu; Museo del Barrio, New York; Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Museum Het Domein, Sittard, The Netherlands; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; and Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, Ukraine, among others. Curated by Dick Goody. Full-color catalogue available.

Carlos Rolón and Dick Goody in Conversation & Book Launch, Mike Kelly’s Mobile Homestead, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit Sunday, April 3, 2016

Carlos Rolón/Dzine: Commonwealth

April 2016

by Dick Goody

100 pages