Hand-cut silver mirror on aluminum panel
250 x 250 x 22cm
Rolón is known for his multi-disciplinary art practice. Maria, a large-scale sculptural wall painting, was created with silver mirror on aluminum panel. The work visualizes the effects of Hurricane Maria which was regarded as the worst natural disaster on record to affect the island of Puerto Rico, and the only recorded Category 5 to hit the island as of 2018.
This piece is striking in its use of mirrors. Maria forces viewers to see themselves as fragments strewn across a curved surface. The curved surface is formed according to Hurricane Maria’s pattern when it made landfall and was at its peak intensity. Maria is a unified force – whole and spiraling – yet forces every viewer to experience a fragmented state of being when confronted by it. One’s engagement with the piece mimics the disjointed lived experience of a hurricane.
Reflecting on the history of natural disasters in Puerto Rico and the United States, Rolón comments:
In the early 20th century and after the Great Depression, both United States and Puerto Rico each saw a rapid spike in industrialization, migrations and tourism. Both saw the rise and fall of commercial sugarcane production, tourism, industrialized agriculture and military bases and testing exercises. While there was a rise in these industries, the natural landscape took the brunt of abuses. Along with global warming, the expansions of attractions and high-rise complexes deteriorated the beaches, drained wetlands and cleared wooded areas, making the island of Puerto Rico more susceptible to flooding and coastline erosion.
Columbia College, Chicago, IL