Ritchard Rodriguez was born and raised in New York City, studied art at NY’s School of Visual Arts under mentors Gilbert L. Stone and Jonathan Borofsky, migrated once west to Aspen Colorado for two years where he was invited to exhibit for the very first time (at its Jerome Gallery), then east to Berlin, Hamburg and Paris for a duration of eight years. There he was represented by art dealers Michel Ozenne in Paris and Jan de Maere in Brussels who, aside from granting him a solo show in Paris’ first arrondissement, would also include him in the FIAC at the Grand Palais and the Auction House Elkaim, L’Isle-Adam.
“I was a realist for a good fifteen years, trained in the ways of the old masters by the late Gilbert Stone, primarily seduced by the Dutch. Before the eight years that I would spend in Europe I met Lisa de Kooning, friend of a friend’s friend, so became aware of her father, yet another Dutch artist. In fact, de Kooning, Kline and Joan Mitchell eventually fed my emancipation from the restrictions of academic realism, and in time I jumped off the cliff of a comfort zone with a hand glider of my own invention without regrets.”
During the years spent in France the paint took over as Rodriguez discovered freedom within his own abstraction, substituting figures with strokes or combinations of strokes, exploring the linen he faced with a preferable honesty, “painting from the heart and guts”. He made NY his home and work place once again, though likewise taking his art materials to tropical Brazil for many winters to come. The work segued as a result from an industrial edge that included collage and photography along with his oils, to that of pure abstractions, color and light.
Rodriguez continues to exhibit internationally, his paintings collected throughout three continents, even enjoying the success of being presented among ten other artists who participated in Princess Stephanie of Monaco’s annual auction to raise funds for her charity, Fight AIDS Monaco. “His two paintings were bought by a Monegasque art collector on 1st December 2007 at the auction in Monte Carlo in the presence of the Princess and her brother, Prince Albert II. Ritchard has a very particular and unique approach toward the canvas while painting. Each of his work is an emotional story that belongs to his heart and echoes ours.” — Marie-Laetitia Lesaffre (curator).
“When I entered NY’s High School of Art & Design I aspired at being a comic-book artist upon graduation. By the time of my final term there, I bought a box of oil paints that changed my life for good.” 2014 commemorated 40 years of painting in oils with his NY exhibition, ‘The Keys of Life’.