Clarissa Marie B. Rodriguez (b. 1991), who is better known as Issay, obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, and was awarded the Outstanding Thesis Award and Gawad Tanglaw upon graduation in 2013. As a student she has been a scholar of the Jose “Pitoy” Moreno Foundation and has also studied as an exchange scholar at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, under the auspices of the French Government. She has exhibited her works in Hanoi, Ho Chi Mihn City, Jakarta, Taipei, New Delhi, Dubai, Manila and Paris.
Together with Katherine Nuñez, Rodriguez showed work in the main exhibition Viva Arte Viva at the Central Pavillion of the 57th Venice Biennale. Last year, she participated in Asia in Darwin's 2017 research and residency project: VANISHING IN THE PROCESS: An Exploration of Dream States and Related Symbolism taking place between LIRSpace in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, & 98BCOLLABoratory in Manila. In the same year, she conducted a local artist residency with Bellas Artes Projects in Bagac, Bataan. Rodriguez currently lives and works in Metro Manila, Philippines.
Since the early part of her artistic practice, Rodriguez has been investing on projects that would enable her to interact with people. Currently shifting her focus to research-oriented & community-based approach using digital media and photography as the most viable, accessible, democratic and widely used medium of the contemporary generation, Rodriguez thinks about image and object-making amidst daily dose of technology that envelopes post-modern life. Without verisimilitude as the main goal, she explores on ways to combine them with timeless but classical laborious modes of production in the field of Applied and Fine Arts like technical drawing & painting and tactile/sensory, sometimes participatory, art projects in this age of fascination for the fast, instant but distressing world of optical pleasure.
More than objects, she creates situations that would provide moments of reflection if not conversation--to discuss how people feel about where they are currently situated or a distant past. Her works therefore are not only performative, but also psychologically purposive. By situating and re- situating her projects in a particular location or set-up, she opens up more conditions of exploration, interesting discoveries and opportunities for engagements and connections. Rodriguez’s works tend to stem from autobiographical experiences but always with an attempt to work with a poetic twist to turn away from solipsism. She connects unlikely gaps and fragments to deal with the complexities of memory, place and identity presenting them as potential codes unearthed from immersive experience.