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Mark Rodriguez
Serious Intent
by Brian Gibson

There is a serious intent behind the art of Mark Rodriguez. His work has evolved to illuminate and bridge the gap between the concrete and abstract. It is an interplay between color, line, and form. Whether painting, sculpting, or mixing the two, he embraces the simplicity of these three basic elements, his work exhibiting a highly-tuned sense of invention and craftsmanship as well as a sense of new directions in the visual realm.

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Attention Given to Something, modeled wood, picture frames—America and it’s faith

Rodriguez operates his studio in a state of graceful awareness - his logic in harmony with the intuitive task at hand. On one hand his art is the expression of an individual. It is a metaphor of a spiritual journey transferred onto a canvas or onto an armature. On the other, it is a contagious form of reflection. We are invited to examine our notions, perceptions, and world view in a new light. It makes us more pliable - serves to sensitize us.

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Americana, modeled wood, hanging light bulbs—Americana, a question of direction

But, as viewers, we can only speculate on what an artist is trying to say. In a way, this may be our greatest mistake. We may forestall a profound art experience by becoming frustrated at failing to decipher a logical message, and we can forget that artists themselves are students of their own work. Rodriguez admits to predicting very little. "I only know I will begin a piece and I know that I have the experience, the ability, and the faith to someday finish it. The rest is an adventure. I can’t tell you what it’s all about." He admits the work informs the artist as to how to proceed (if they are willing to listen) and ultimately teaches the artist something about their own nature. Over time, the artist has learned to take an unbiased view of his work - frequently inspired to stand back and wonder at a finished piece. He enjoys this mental adventure and is sometimes surprised at how he feels when the work is complete. "It’s a process", he says, "It never ends". As viewers of art we learn something about ourselves too. We can become painfully aware of how vulnerable and imperfect we are and it can shake us into a defensive mental posture or perhaps a knowing state of acceptance.

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If the purpose of art is to reveal, than Rodriguez has succeeded. It can be something beautiful, frightening, harmonious or quiet. We are invited to participate in the process of the artist’s intent and we can become more humble in the face of these revelations. Rodriguez asks the question of himself: Who are you? And the viewer faced with an emotionally charged work will ask themselves the same question - Who am I?

Perhaps this is the simplest definition of the art of Mark Rodriquez: It has a serious intent that can be experienced. The question then becomes: What is it about this particular combination of forms, lines, and colors that makes me think of certain things and feel a certain way?

Over the last thirty years the philosophy of Mark Rodriguez has not changed. He believes art is a visual language that challenges emotions and stimulates a vocabulary of intellect capable of transforming a moment into an experience.

Rodriguez works in a number of mediums. Though often called dark or cynical, his painting, sculpture and installations convey a note of irony and humanity. Working within the realm of visual beauty, he views his work as an attempt to help one understand. "To understand is to question, and to question is to understand oneself"

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