Rodney McMillian


1969, Columbia, South Carolina

Audio Stories

The artist on landscape and the language of oppression

Show TranscriptHide Transcript



My name is Rodney McMillian. I’m from Columbia, South Carolina. I live here in Los Angeles, California. I’ve been here for 18 years now. I often use industrial materials because they are affordable and they’re available and I can get them in bulk. I think there’s a lot of content to those materials that I can mine from those materials. I’ve found that I’m able to work with them in a way that speaks to ideas around the landscape that I’m interested in talking about. Ideas around fluidity, temporality, because those paints aren’t the most archival. They’re going to shift a bit. It’s going to take a long time. But that that is a component, right? And we as a species, we as creatures, we evolve and the land shifts and evolves as well. So I mean, everything that we use is of this earth. A lot of people view landscapes as apolitical. I would say that that is the result of a wonderfully effective indoctrination machine. I’m from South Carolina. I don’t recall ever looking at the landscape as a pastoral scene. I’ve always encountered it as a space of work, as a space of ownership, as a space of oppression. These conditions persist to this day. The inequities in education and inequities of environmental sites like Flint, Michigan, conditions around homelessness. These are conditions that we’ve inherited because they have been languaged through policy and through government, through law to be that way. Because they had been done that way, they can also be undone. And I’m interested in the undoing of that. And so, within my tiny little field, in my little vocation, this is what I do. 

Read MoreCollapse

Works in the Collection

Please note that artwork locations are subject to change, and not all works are on view at all times. If you are planning a visit to SFMOMA to see a specific work of art, we suggest you contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to confirm it will be on view.

Only a portion of SFMOMA's collection is currently online, and the information presented here is subject to revision. Please contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to verify collection holdings and artwork information. If you are interested in receiving a high resolution image of an artwork for educational, scholarly, or publication purposes, please contact us at copyright@sfmoma.org.

This resource is for educational use and its contents may not be reproduced without permission. Please review our Terms of Use for more information.