These paintings represent a body of work that came about after a major shift in my artistic mission. Long a sculptor and jeweler with forays into printmaking, photography and drawing, a series of amazing circumstances compelled me to experiment with painting. This journey was also motivated by the desire to make work that is less temporal, more universal and that might challenge current art trends. The tendency for many academic and institutional venues continues to be the presentation and celebration of work that is dominated by conceptual art, technology and/or new media. This pattern makes the ideals of Post Modernism one of the longest lived paradigms in western art history. Perhaps the most unconventional, challenging and edgy work a living contemporary artist could create would be realistic oil painting or marble sculpture with a spiritual or emotional theme.
Our world is dominated by technology and speed. Supposed new ideas are honored above not only emotion but vision. When a tool or technique along with intellectualism becomes the “art" it has lost its soul. Many artists like to say that “art is process," while I understand the concept, I find that to be very selfish and short-sighted because it excludes the viewer. Part of my objective is to bridge the gap between art/artist and the beholder - to do so in a respectful yet unique manner is paramount. Paintings about painting or technique are craft not art. When someone looks at my paintings and they are engaged more by the technical skill than the content or message, I have failed.
“Art which isn't based on feeling isn't an art at all... feeling is the principle, the beginning and the end; craft, objective, technique - all these are in the middle.” - Paul Cezanne
As some artists explore light, color, texture, form etc., I choose to delve into emotion. Not all human feelings are as simple as being happy or sad. Many art buyers limit themselves with their main motivation being home decoration. Thusly they purchase positive, pretty and/or “safe” pieces to accomplish this oft mundane task. My art seldom fills that role - not much here to match the sofa. My hope is that art can acknowledge not only the taste, feelings and visions of the artist but of the patron as well. I find music an interesting analogy - we listen to a wide variety of music that can be happy, sad, beautiful, political, edgy, dance-able, inspiring, soothing, rough, thought provoking, spiritual and yes, emotional. We cherish music that “speaks” to us in a way that we can relate to personally on a deep level. I believe visual art can offer the viewer or owner similar experiences. I prefer to pose more questions than offer answers. The dream is to create art that is at once beautiful and disturbing or comfortable and challenging or maybe haunting and inspiring. These self imposed high aspirations for my art are achieved only if they reach beyond idiosyncratic perspective and move into the hopeful realm of changing the world; perhaps even our collective consciousness in a small way.
“The goal of the artist is to always deepen the mystery” - Francis Bacon
My work can seem dark and for some, even scary or disturbing. Hopefully my painting requires the viewer to look beyond the surface and see that part of the beauty lies deep within mystery and a complexity that can change over time. To create pieces that are both magical and real is challenging and very rewarding. To meld nature with spirituality and elegance with enigma, inspires me. This journey requires me to search for beauty in unexpected or dark places within a world on the edge of reality. Being long fascinated by rites, ritual, ceremony and the various practitioners of such spiritual acts, my work is often influenced by those religions and belief systems. That said, the content of the paintings is an intuitive collaboration between my life experiences, passionate research and a fertile dream world. If art offers the spectator an unexpected opportunity to discover something about themselves or the world around them, I am truly thunderstruck by the power and magic of art. Creating art is my incurable quest; it is my savior and muse. Painting is my voice. One can learn more about who I am, my heart of hearts and my deepest thoughts by looking at my art than through any conversation.
“The essential condiment of beauty is strangeness” - Baudelaire
Copyright © Rodney Wood 2009 All rights reserved
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"I am truly thunderstruck by the power and magic of art.
Creating art is my incurable quest; it is my savior and muse."