When admitted to the High School of Art & Design, New York’s most prestigious for all talented students, Ritchard Rodriguez aspired at being a fine comic-book penciler during that industry’s renaissance. Ironically, he instead graduated an oil painter, and that was 49 years ago. Born in NYC, Rodriguez studied painting and sculpture under mentors Gilbert L. Stone and Jonathan Borofsky. Despite the era of Minimalism, his work figuratively followed within the footsteps of the European old masters, primarily seduced by the Dutch, later by Germany’s ‘Neue Sachlichkeit’ of the 1920s. The 1980s spent in Europe exposed Rodriguez to the evolution of painting past, present, and the approaching 21st century.
After 15 years of academic realism, he chose to shed it for his very own abstraction, freeing up his hands, constructively creating without limits or regrets. “Corrupted” by a video of Willem de Kooning working in his studio was principal in a revelation, as the young artist watched in awe: “One merely needs to seriously master his/her techniques and visions as a painter, that alone will enable an artist to just about do anything, doing so successfully.” Rodriguez’ paintings include collage, Asemic art, but is mostly rhythmic suggestive work of pure oil paint while ever bearing drawing, composition and design.
“Gestural, painterly, dauntless and vivid are just a few words to describe the dynamic paintings by artist Ritchard Rodriguez. His liberate narrative speaks of the untamed. With controlled abandon Rodriguez creates work with temperamental movement and a balanced atmosphere. There is much to be admired in these evocative pieces.” — E.E. Jacks, curator for APERO Fine Art.
Rodriguez’ 1st experience showing professionally was at the Jerome Gallery in Aspen, Colorado, 1977, where he resided at the time, and his first solo exhibition with Galerie Michel Ozenne in Paris’ 1st arrondissement, 1984, introducing him to the French public. That same year, along with Belgium diplomat art dealer, Jan de Maere, he was showcased internationally at the FIAC at the Grand Palais. He has since exhibited throughout Europe and the United States including art fairs and auction houses – L’Isle-Adam, France, and Monaco: the latter curated by Princess Stephanie herself for her “La Maison de Vie FAM” on International AIDS Day; his art collected throughout four continents. In 2019, he permanently relocated to Miami, Florida.
“I see my paintings as living creatures with shapes, problems and solutions that I address within a candid dialogue, stemming from pure spontaneity*, entering a space of concentration, rhythm, physical gesturing, and an understanding of where a work wants to go.”
*”…Spontaneity is, after all, total sincerity — the whole being involved in the act without the slightest reservation…” — Alan W. Watts