'Earth Oracles’ by Allison Maria Rodriguez at UML’s University Gallery. (Photo courtesy UML University Gallery) Image by UML University Gallery
'Earth Oracles’ by Allison Maria Rodriguez at UML’s University Gallery.

The Lowell Sun
By Nancye Tuttle

The UMass Lowell Department of Art & Design issues a warning on climate change and extinction even as it celebrates the world’s wild creatures in the thrilling exhibition “Earth Oracles,” an immersive multimedia installation by Allison Maria Rodriguez.

“Earth Oracles” will be on view from Jan. 31–March 22 in the University Gallery in Mahoney Hall, 870 Broadway Street, Lowell. Allison Maria Rodriguez will present an artist talk and conversation with Q&A to the public on Thursday, Feb. 8 from 3:30-5 p.m. in the Smith Ballroom on the 2nd floor of Coburn Hall, followed by a reception in the University Gallery next door from 5-7 p.m.

There will also be a panel discussion with Allison Maria Rodriguez, Professor Kirsten Swenson, who teaches art history, and guests on Thursday, March 21 from 3:30-5 p.m. in Coburn Hall (Smith Ballroom, 2nd floor). These events are free, accessible, and open to the public.

Allison Maria Rodriguez’s video installations immerse the audience in experiential spaces that ask the viewer to consider alternative ways of relating to animals and the environment.

While focusing on climate change and species extinction, Rodriguez’s work transports visitors to a hallowed space inhabited by endangered animals, beautifully adorned with colorful, layered landscapes, existing gloriously in heightened and super saturated moving imagery.

By transforming video monitors into stained glass windows and galleries into cathedral-like spaces, Rodriguez builds an alternative world where the animal kingdom is revered in all its beauty and mystery. In considering the possibilities for multi-species flourishing on Earth, Rodriguez shows the wisdom that non-human species such as sharks, cougars, and honeybees offer to those who listen.

In “Earth Oracles,” Rodriguez blends Indigenous perspectives with theory, technology, and compassion to create a moment that is simultaneously a celebration and a call to action.

Rodriguez’s work has been exhibited internationally, throughout the country and extensively in the New England area, in both traditional and non-traditional art spaces. Her immersive and/or large-scale installations have been exhibited in venues such as the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Digital Arts Studios (Northern Ireland), Montserrat Gallery, Smack Mellon, Fitchburg Art Museum, Gallery 360 at Northeastern University, Emerson Contemporary, Milton Academy, Installation Space, Boston Cyberarts Gallery, Blockfort Gallery, Spoke Gallery, 13Forest Gallery, Fountain Street Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston Children’s Museum, and Dorchester Art Project, among others. Her projects also include several public art video installations commissioned by organizations such as Illuminus Boston, Boston Cyberarts, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, and the Jewish Arts Collaborative.

Rodriguez is currently the inaugural Artist-in-Residence for the Biology of Trauma Initiative at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

She received her MFA from Tufts University/The School of the Museum of Fine Arts and holds a BA in language, literature, and culture from Antioch College in Ohio, obtained also through study at Oxford University in England and Kyoto Seika University in Japan.

She is also an independent curator and arts educator – she has taught courses in art theory and media production in a variety of contexts. Rodriguez has her studio at Midway Artist Studios in Boston.

Gallery hours are Monday-Wednesday & Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Closed Sundays and during school breaks. Visit https://www.uml.edu/FAHSS/Art/Galleries-Exhibitions/ for additional info.