Greenwich House Pottery is thrilled to host Shellyne Rodriguez as our first artist-in-residence for 2022! Rodriguez is an educator, writer and community organizer who works in multiple media including drawing, painting, collage, sculpture and ceramics. Her arts education is a uniquely New York story as she earned her bachelors in arts from the School of Visual Arts and her masters from Hunter College and her work has been shown all around the city at El Museo del Barrio, the Queens Museum and the Cue Art Foundation in Chelsea. She’s also been shown at Casa Wamu in Ecuador.
Shellyne Rodriguez first got into ceramics during her last semester at Hunter while taking a sculpture class. “I had a knack for it.” she says. “Drawing was and continues to be my primary media but there’s a relationship between drawing and sculpture.”
Thematically speaking, Rodriguez says her work is about place and the people who live there. “My work observes the everyday life of the people around me.” explains Rodriguez, who was born and raised in the Bronx to a Nuyorican family and lives in the southeast part of the borough. “To that end, I consider myself a historian, an archivist of regular working people, documenting their social fabric. I call the Bronx the internal global south, the domestic third world so I am looking at their triumphs in spite of being under the threat of displacement, in spite of all the land mines and whatever plague is coming down the road.”
She elaborates “My community happens to be super diverse. I’m from the Black Puerto Rican diaspora and my grandmother came to New York in 1957 and this was also the time of the great migration of African Americans and so that brought us in close proximity together and we created salsa and hip-hop. I came up in the 80’s and nowadays people are coming from Bangladesh, Yemen, Albania, Mexican
s from Puebla. The Bronx is starting to rival Queens when it comes to diversity and our collective struggle is interconnected. We all come to this place seeking warmth. There’s something romantic in that.”
In that respect, Rodriguez cites inspiration from another multi-media artist, Martin Wong, a famed Chinese-American artist whose renowned work was part of the 20th century Nuyorican Arts Movement and documented Lower East Side life with love and affirmation, as well as Jane Dickson, whose paintings famously portray New York City slices of life.
As part of her residency, Roriguez will create a series of ceramic reliefs from a 12×12 private studio space. She will also have access to free stocked clay and gas and electric firings.
The residency program originated in the 1960’s when the Pottery invited artist Peter Voukos to teach and work there for several summers. Since 2015, all artists-in-residence have had their work shown as part of a group exhibition in Jane Harstook Gallery the summer after their residency. Rodriguez’s work will also be published in the annual exhibition catalog Ceramics Now.