In the Presence of Absence

A Cuban-American artist commemorates Día de los Muertos at 13FOREST

Still from the video In the Presence of Absence - Jose Maria & Ike

Schedule of Events

Fri 10/27/17 - Sat 11 /11/17: In the Presence of Absence window installation at 13FOREST Gallery

Sun 10/29/17,  4-6:30 pm: In the Presence of Absence opening reception; Capitol Square's annual Día de Los Muertos celebration, activities throughout the square

Wed 11/8/17, 6-8 pm: In the Presence of Absence: an Exploration of Cultural and Ecological Loss - artist talk with Allison Maria Rodriguez


Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a holiday of reverence for one's ancestors that dates back to the Aztec celebration of Mictēcacihuātl, Queen of the Underworld. Though Día de los Muertos originated in Mexico, people across the Americas have adopted and modified the tradition with their own unique cultural contributions. Each October Capitol Square brings Día de los Muertos back into focus with Latinx memory altars, food and live music. This year, with financial support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, 13FOREST Gallery is pleased to present the work of Cuban-American artist Allison Maria Rodriguez who will commemorate Día de los Muertos with In the Presence of Absence.

In Rodriguez's words, In the Presence of Absence is a multi-channel video installation that explores the personal, yet collective, experience of cultural and ecological loss embedded in contemporary reality. It merges two primary conceptual concerns of her practice: her personal Latinx identity and environmental conservation. Through portrayals of her hybrid Cuban-American identity, deceased family members, extinct animal species and climate change, Rodriguez creates an interdisciplinary installation that navigates between worlds. In doing so, she draws attention to the emptiness we encounter when we are disconnected from our respective cultures and other species, and to the acts of appreciation and mourning that help keep collective memory alive.

Dress included in the installation In the Presence of Absence

On view through Saturday, November 11, 13FOREST Gallery will feature In the Presence of Absence as part of Capitol Square's Day of the Dead celebration on Sunday, October 29, 4-6:30 pm. In addition, the gallery will host a reception and talk by Rodriguez on Wednesday, November 8, 6-8 pm, titled In the Presence of Absence: an Exploration of Ecological and Cultural Loss.

About the Artist
Allison Maria Rodriguez is a Boston-based interdisciplinary artist working predominately in new media, film/video and installation. With themes ranging from human migration to species extinction, her work converges on a desire to understand the space within which language fails and lived experience remains unarticulated. Rodriguez’s work has been exhibited in traditional and non-traditional art spaces internationally, throughout the United States and across New England. Rodriguez's award-winning 16mm experimental film “In Between” premiered in New York City at the NewFilmmakers Spring Festival, and went on to screen in various venues across the country. Her most recent projects include several large-scale public art video installations commissioned by Boston Cyberarts and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.

Artist Allison Maria Rodriguez

Rodriguez 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. In addition to being an artist, she is an independent curator of local group exhibitions and screenings, and a participant in artist collectives such as the Boston LGBTQIA Artists Alliance. Rodriguez has also been an artist-in-residence at The Studios at MASS MoCA and, in New York, at Arts Letters & Numbers and The Wassaic Project.  This coming January and March respectively, Rodriguez will be the inaugural artist-in-residence at the Dorchester Art Project and a resident at The Ragdale Foundation.





In the Presence of Absence is funded in part by a grant from the Arlington Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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Call for Proposals

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September 15, 2017

October 27 – November 4, 2017

13FOREST Gallery, 167A Massachusetts Ave, Arlington MA




13FOREST Gallery seeks a Boston-area Latinx artist to create a temporary window installation at 13FOREST, timed to coincide with National Hispanic Heritage Month and Capitol Square’s annual celebration of Day of the Dead. Dia de los Muertos is celebrated throughout Mexico and beyond with lively and colorful traditions that honor departed loved ones. This project endeavors to celebrate the cultural significance of Latinx artists and their histories, which are underrepresented in Boston-area institutions. In conjunction with the artist, 13FOREST will design and implement programming around the installation to advance public education and engagement.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Arlington Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. The artist will be awarded a cash stipend of $450. 

Michelle Garcia, Dia de los Muertos Installation 2015

Michelle Garcia, Dia de los Muertos Installation 2015

– Artwork may be from a variety of disciplines, but must include a physical component to be installed in the window of the gallery.
– Performance art will be considered as a component of the installation. There may be some limitations based on gallery hours, physical space, or other factors.
– Artwork must fit in the window display space, the footprint of which is approximately 41" by 41".
– Artists are responsible for transporting work to and from the gallery.

– Please write an installation proposal no longer than two pages, preferably including example images or sketches.
– Include examples of previous work, submitted as JPEGs (maximum of 5 images).
– Each JPEG should be named as “NAME_#.jpg” where # is the submission number and NAME is your last name.
– Include an image list in your submission email, indicating submission number, title, size, process, and year.
– Please include a short biography, website links, resume/CV, and contact email address.
– Send submissions to Caitee Hoglund, Gallery Director, at

• Deadline for entries: September 15, 2017
• Notification: September 29, 2017
• Artwork installation: October 25 and 26, 2017
• Exhibition dates: October 27 - November 4, 2017
• Opening Reception: Sunday October 29, 2017, 4-6 pm
• Artist Talk and other events: To be scheduled

Dimel Rivas , Dia de los Muertos Installation 2016

Dimel Rivas, Dia de los Muertos Installation 2016


13FOREST Gallery searches New England for outstanding artists - established and emerging - to offer the very best in original art and contemporary craft. We are a dynamic gallery space that features rotating exhibitions every 6 to 8 weeks, as well as a number of public programs designed to inform and inspire creative minds.