Friday, June 20, 2014

The Art of Alfredo Rodríguez, Part III: A Golden Moment (2013)

We conclude our look at Alfredo Rodríguez (born 1954) with this, A Golden Moment, painted just one year ago.

Though the last two pictures we looked at were of American Indians, Rodríguez spends nearly as much time painting miners, prospectors and Wild West bad men.  He also paints children of the plains, as well as Mexican and Indian women in a manner that could only be called Sanitized Cheesecake.

Rodríguez is a conundrum – a painter of undeniable skill and talent, but without any taste or point of view.  He too often relies on pyrotechnics to achieve his effects, and short-changes his own considerable abilities.

Today’s picture is certainly not Rodríguez at his best; though correct enough in its component parts, they don’t seem to fit together in any real way.  The prospector is wonderfully drawn, but there is no real sense of his weight or bulk upon the rocks.  The gun in his belt looks more like something drawn on his shirt than a real weapon, and I’m not quite sure where the back of the man’s body is hiding.

More egregious is the dog, who looks like he was stenciled onto the background, like one of those sets we got as children where we rubbed figures into pre-painted pictures.  The poor hound seems to hang there, not really in this picture at all, and obediently looking off to the side to see if its time to get out of it. 

How can this happen?  Again – look at the man, divorced from the rest of the picture.  Or, better yet, look at the pickaxe, bucket and pan.  All are executed with a sure hand; even the dog -- the component of the picture that screams “kitsch” with bruised lungs – is competently done.  It’s just that all of these pieces look like they were stitched together, a painting more Frankenstein than Buffalo Bill.

Alfredo Rodríguez clearly wants to be a modern Charles Marion Russell or Frederic Remington; but his passion is commercial, not personal.

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