By Sally Cohen
Germantown artist Rocio Cabello is wired this weekend, in a show of her work in Mt. Airy at the Green on Greene building. Cabello, 49, works almost exclusively in wire, creating works that are figurative, decorative and sometimes literary — from the phrases that move her most.
Born in Lima, Peru, she moved to New York when she was 11 after her mother died, joining an older sister in the Bronx. This past Friday, she took her oath as an American citizen.
Rocio’s husband, Rene Molenaar, was born in Aruba. He owned an art gallery in the Bronx in 1989 when they met and began working together. They now have two sons, 6 and 11.
Rocio studied commercial art for two years at Parsons School of Design in New York, working at the time with her siblings in a commercial art firm where she was the staff illustrator.
“Today there are two aspects of my artistic life,” she says. “One is the very private work in my studio, mostly with wire. My more public work involves landscaping — creating outdoor spaces for contemplation, to play, to create playing areas.” In East Falls, she painted the floor mural at Thomas Mifflin school, for example.
In New York, she also did ‘guerrilla gardening’, especially when it prevented dumping on private or public land. “In Brooklyn and the Bronx or Staten Island, that is always a problem. Lots of empty lots and garbage. Whenever my husband and I moved to a new borough, at our corner there was always the same thing.
“We lived in shady neighborhoods in New York. Then my first son was born, and my priorities changed. I wanted to live near a park or playground, but we couldn’t afford neighborhoods with gardens and parks. I was almost 40, trying to work as much as we could to make rent in New York.
“My friends in Philly have been saying to come here. Every trip to visit, we would visit one new neighborhood. When we found Germantown, we knew this was something we could afford, the perfect combination, so much nature. We are in Philly, NOT the suburbs! So we moved here in 2002. One of their sons now attends GFS, the other is home-schooled.”
Rocio’s life today follows a trajectory of personal and artistic growth. “A lot of my work comes out of the transformation of experiencing tragedies. The dark tunnel I had experienced especially early in my youth was out of control, traumatizing. Then I realized much later that certain phrases had love and power, and I wanted them around me. What I do is more permanent than graffiti, but more ephemeral than some other forms of art. It won’t last 1,000 years.”
The Mt. Airy show will display 30 works from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Green on Greene building is at 6819 Greene St., at Carpenter Lane. Saturday will also feature the Indian fusion trio of Rajiv. More information at 215-842-1040 or mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org.