Multidisciplinary artist Sterling Rook has been creating structures that explore the concept of home as it relates to both a physical space and one of cultural memory. In Almost Home the artist mines the personal, including references in color palate to his childhood homes and his multiethnic heritage, Rook has created an immersive sculpture that invites the viewer to cross a threshold and recontextualize a dwelling. Comprised of rebar, a ubiquitous material that is a familiar sight across construction sites throughout Miami, the artist meticulously attaches various species of palm fronds to the structure in seamless blending of traditional and modern building materials, natural and fabricated objects, and European and indigenous monuments. His largest palm frond structure to date, Almost Home leads viewers on a journey through time, culture and nostalgia as they navigate through the work. Once again recalling specificity of place the sculpture is painted a familiar vibrant pink hue that is common throughout homes in South Florida and the Caribbean. Using a variety of palms that are familiar to communities in Miami, Rook interweaves coconut, foxtail and queen palms among others, which are not native to the area to highlight the idea of the concept of a paradise created beyond its natural form. In this way Almost Home becomes the hybrid the artist is interested in interrogating and the hybrid we all are comfortable navigating.
About the Artist:
Sterling Rook is a Miami native with Masters in Fine Art from Florida International University. He works out of his studio at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Miami, Florida. Rook’s work uses his skills in metalwork and fabric to further expand the language of sculpture and fiber-art. Forged and welded steel, painted palm fronds, and handmade rope from used clothing, all factor in for Rook in as avenues expanding this visual vocabulary. This visual-vocabulary is enriched through working within a family legacy of fiber-crafts: On the maternal/Peruvian side of his family, his grandmother was a re-weaver, and his grandfather was a tailor. His paternal/British grandfather’s last name was “Stringer,” which is a British historical-occupational name for one who made rope or string. Rook uses these as beacons to explore art-making as both a generative and regenerative process, which is like tapestry that interprets and combines histories in the creation of an artwork. Using these markers as a compass, his work bridges gaps within disparate cultural heritages connecting past to present.