Isabella La Rocca González

  • Clematis Glaucophylla, Southeastern U.S., 2023. from the series Native Several years ago, for the first time in my adult life, I moved to a home where I could grow a garden. I’ve filled my garden with native plants. Native plants are beautiful, biodiverse, and resilient. Watering, herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers are unnecessary. Natives are super beneficial to the local ecology, including beleaguered pollinators and wildlife. A native plant garden is a political act. The homes in the area where I live, and in much of the U.S., are surrounded by lawns that consist of invasive grasses. They require watering, fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. Pollinators and wildlife are treated as pests. Lawns are a colonialist practice that has decimated the polycultural ecosystem that existed in the precolonial Americas and is directly connected to the ethnocide of Indigenous people. These images are based on photographs of native plants in my garden and of lawns on the road where I walk.
  • Ofrendas: This series is my offering to the many animals left for dead on the roads where I travel, often near the lake where I walk every day. Mostly, they are killed by cars but also by hunters, fishermen, and sometimes out of sheer cruelty. Their deaths are unnatural and violent. I’ve always felt it was deeply wrong to leave their bodies on the road for further violence. For a long time the all I could think to do was to photograph them and whenever possible move them off the road. Ofrendas is my way of remembering these innocent animals in a lovelier context. The works are small and quiet and uninvasive. They are made with materials that are ecologically as harmless as possible: pigment prints of the animals I photograph on rag paper embellished mostly with water-based pigments, free of animal products.
  • Ofrendas: This series is my offering to the many animals left for dead on the roads where I travel, often near the lake where I walk every day. Mostly, they are killed by cars but also by hunters, fishermen, and sometimes out of sheer cruelty. Their deaths are unnatural and violent. I’ve always felt it was deeply wrong to leave their bodies on the road for further violence. For a long time the all I could think to do was to photograph them and whenever possible move them off the road. Ofrendas is my way of remembering these innocent animals in a lovelier context. The works are small and quiet and uninvasive. They are made with materials that are ecologically as harmless as possible: pigment prints of the animals I photograph on rag paper embellished mostly with water-based pigments, free of animal products.
  • Ofrendas: This series is my offering to the many animals left for dead on the roads where I travel, often near the lake where I walk every day. Mostly, they are killed by cars but also by hunters, fishermen, and sometimes out of sheer cruelty. Their deaths are unnatural and violent. I’ve always felt it was deeply wrong to leave their bodies on the road for further violence. For a long time the all I could think to do was to photograph them and whenever possible move them off the road. Ofrendas is my way of remembering these innocent animals in a lovelier context. The works are small and quiet and uninvasive. They are made with materials that are ecologically as harmless as possible: pigment prints of the animals I photograph on rag paper embellished mostly with water-based pigments, free of animal products.
  • Censored Landscapes is a long-term photographic project that tells a story in which the main characters are innocent of any crime and yet are sentenced to imprisonment, torture, and death. It's a true story of ecological destruction, of worker exploitation — mostly people of color, and of secretive corporations protected by laws and enriched by government subsidies and lobbies. It is also a story that offers insight and healing. The photographs in this series consist of landscapes that includes sites of animal agriculture as well as portraits of animals who have been confined in these facilities. Many of the photographs have been paired with facts, stories, essays, and poems that contextualize the images through the many facets of of society impacted by the industry.  The project may be viewed at censoredlandscapes.org. If you would like to preview the project, please contact me for the password.
  • Fast Food: My parents came to the US as adults from Mexico and Italy respectively. I grew up eating as they did - meals are eaten slowly and with others.  Fast food, with its shiny, brightly colored facades and super savory or sweet meals was exotic and beguiling. Fast food is widely available, cheap, and filling. For some people, there are few affordable or accessible alternatives. In its early days, fast food was marketed to women, promising freedom from the work and responsibility of feeding the family. But the industry is based largely on worker exploitation - mostly women of color, many of whom are single moms.  Fast food, heavily processed and based on animal agriculture, is linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer. Animal agriculture is a leading cause, if not the leading cause, of climate change, deforestation, ocean acidification, habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity, and mass species extinction. Industrialized animal agriculture, from which 99% of all meat, dairy, and eggs comes, is the final, horrifying stage of a practice that has never been sane or just: the commodification and slaughter of sentient beings. And ironically, fast food wastes imperiled resources and so increases world hunger.
  • Convenience: This series broadens the scope of the Fast Food series. Convenience stores, liquor stores, check cashing services are most often found in impoverished neighborhoods and prey on the lack of resources and access of those who live there. And yet, they form an intrinsic part of the fabric of the neighborhood.
  • Convenience: This series broadens the scope of the Fast Food series. Convenience stores, liquor stores, check cashing services are most often found in impoverished neighborhoods and prey on the lack of resources and access of those who live there. And yet, they form an intrinsic part of the fabric of the neighborhood.
  • Masks: This series is comprised of ten sculptural plaster pieces that I cast from a mold of my face.  I affixed hand-painted silver prints, also self-portraits, to the surface of each mask using a technique called decoupage so that the surface is smooth and seamless.  Each piece is embellished with a headpiece as well as a plastic plaque that hangs from chains bearing the title of the piece.  The masks are non-functional; they cannot be worn.  These pieces are intended to bring to light and make light of stereotypes about women found mostly in Western culture but also reflective of other cultures.  It is my aim to connect these often subconscious beliefs with conscious expression so as to defuse and disempower them.

Isabella La Rocca González is an artist, writer, and activist . Her work is part of a long tradition in art and photography: to bring to light and find beauty in the hidden, unconscious, or disregarded. As the daughter of American immigrants, she strives to reconcile values from her Indigenous Mexican roots with her European heritage. Her art practice is also inextricably linked with her ecofeminist, total liberation activism. Her work has long been focused on ecological concerns, especially concern for nonhuman animals. It is self-evident that environmentalism and social justice must include the other animals who share our planet. Awards for her work include the Ferguson Grant from the Friends of Photography in San Francisco, CA for excellence and commitment to the field of photography. Her photographs have been exhibited throughout the United States including a solo show at the Center for Photography in Woodstock, NY. She received a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.F.A. in Photography from Indiana University. After almost thirty years of teaching art and photography to thousands of students in state universities, art schools, private liberal arts colleges, and community colleges, she has left academia to devote herself full-time to her art practice. Her book <em>Censored Landscapes</em> will be published in fall of 2024.

WEAD Magazine Issue No. 8, Feminism Now: Feminism and Animal Agriculture: https://directory.weadartists.org/feminism-animal-agriculture

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    • , KY
      US - East

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