George Rodriguez addresses sensitive sociopolitical issues through his highly ornamented figurative ceramic sculptures with a tongue in cheek ease that is evident in the sense of warmth his works convey. Themes of culture and identity recur throughout his sculpture, celebrating the unique attributes of diverse cultures as well as the similarities that unite us all. Rodriguez’s ceramic sculptures eloquently communicate the emotions they embody, figures spanning a wide range of forms and personalities. Aspects of certain forms echo elements of African, Italian, and South American ceramic traditions, yet the resulting pieces are dynamically modern.
Calavera del Fuego is part of George Rodriguez's body of work from his 2020 exhibition, Urban Guardians. Says the artist, "I have translated figures [from Mexican masks (Michoacán)] into vessels, [...] playing with the long traditions of utilitarian ceramics and also making them containers of life and the natural elements that affect life. These vessels remind us of the ways in which urban life is inextricably connected to the natural world that persists underneath, around, and within us. Even in the concrete jungle, fire, water, earth and air remain our Urban Guardians."