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Top photo: "Blue Print II" by Martin Rodriguez
Second photo: "Trapcode III" by Martin Rodriguez
Third row: Martin Rodriguez and Guillermina Zabala
Bottom photo: "Oda About de souffle" by Guillermina Zabala

UTSA exhibit features art by alumnus employee

By Tim Brownlee
Assistant Director of Public Affairs

(July 10, 2008)--UTSA President Ricardo Romo, Dr. Harriett Romo and Galeria Ortiz Contemporary will host the photography exhibit, "FOTOGRAMA," from July 11 to Aug. 1. The exhibit features the work of artist and UTSA staff member Martin Rodriguez, B.F.A. '02, and local artist Guillermina Zabala.

An opening reception, free and open to the public, is 6-8:30 p.m., Friday, July 11 at Galeria Ortiz Contemporary, 4026 McCullough Ave., San Antonio 78212.

>> View the video invitation to "FOTOGRAMA."

According to Arturo Almeida, curator of the exhibit and the UTSA Art Collection, the works in "FOTOGRAMA" demonstrate how photographs, films and memory are inextricably linked.

"Technology affords the promise of preserving memory," said Almeida. "Photography and film can capture a moment. Ironically, captured images can also serve to eclipse what we remember. 'FOTOGRAMA' is the artists' exploration of that inevitable space between reality and recollection. In their work, the past and the present are absorbed into each other. Layered imagery, words and sliding jigsaw puzzles coalesce to create a visual language that expresses both what is preserved and what is recalled."

A technology administrator in the UTSA College of Architecture, Martin Rodriguez is an artist of Puerto Rican descent born in Fort Hood, Texas, in 1971. After serving four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, he relocated from Hawaii to San Antonio to pursue studies. He received a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2002. His most recent works include the use of mixed media, photography and film.

Rodriguez' art is part of both private and public collections including UTSA's permanent art collection. He has exhibited his work in San Antonio at Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, the San Antonio Central Library and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center.

"It can be difficult at times working as the technology administrator for one of the nation's fastest growing architecture institutions," he said. "I continually add to that difficulty by also working at having a career within the San Antonio art community. I have to try and keep up with many local artists who spend all of their time working solely on their art. This leads me to have many long days and sleepless nights. Nevertheless, I feel a drive to keep moving forward with it all, not for the money or whatever fame may come of it, but because I feel compelled to do it. It is not only that I want to create art, but I feel that I have too."

Rodriguez also sees the need to create in his daughters, Mia and Julia. "They say that I inspire them, but it is usually them who inspire me," he said. "I work quite a bit with them on my projects and they enjoy helping me. My wife Amy accepts that this need to create will never go away and finds time to participate in and support my work, even with running her medical practice that she owns here in San Antonio."

"Sometimes it seems as though the work never ends." Rodriguez said. "But, I have a feeling of fulfillment that is irreplaceable and I would not have it any other way."

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Guillermina Zabala is an Argentine media artist based in San Antonio. She graduated from Columbia College-Hollywood with a bachelor's degree in cinema. Currently, she is the media arts director at San Antonio's SAY Si. In 2006, she was awarded the NALAC Fund for the Arts grant for her documentary project, "Juanito's Lab." Her work is represented in the UTSA Art Collection.

Recently, she created the installation "Ready to Wear" for the exhibit "Arte Latina: Roar" at the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center. Other projects include the photography series "No a la Guerra at Art Attack," in Bonn, Germany; the photograph "El Flaco" (Flaco Jimenez) for UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures exhibit "Conjunto;" the photograph "Sin Fronteras" shown at Latino Expressions IV; the videos for Victoria Suescum's "Tremendo Manicure" and Andy Benavides' "Somos," created with Laura Varela for the Museo Alameda del Smithsonian; and the short film "The Hot Room," which aired on Showtime.

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