Monday, November 10, 2008

Omar Rodríguez & Vincent Valdez: Recent Paintings and Selected Prints Nov. 7 - Dec. 19, 2008

Vincent Valdez Born: 1977

Vincent Valdez was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and is the youngest artist whose works are in the Chicano Collection exhibition. His first artistic influences came from the canvases of his late great-grandfather, an artist from Spain. Valdez began drawing at age three; as early as kindergarten, he realized his artistic abilities differed from others. While participating in a mural project at San Antonio's Esperanza Peace and Justice Center at age 10, Valdez decided art would be his career. He worked with his mentor, artist/muralist Alex Rubio, on murals around the Alamo City, eventually painting on his own. Upon graduating from Burbank High School, Valdez received a full scholarship to the International Fine Arts College in Miami, Florida. After one year, he accepted a full scholarship and transferred to the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island, where he completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in illustration. He has had one-person shows at the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, the San Antonio Art League Museum, and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio, Texas. He is represented by Finesilver Gallery, also in San Antonio. He has also exhibited his work at Parsons University, Paris; the Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Smithsonian; and the Mexican Museum in Chicago. His work is included in the collection of Cheech Marin, and is part of the traveling exhibition Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge. Valdez exhibits and works on commissioned pieces and teaches art to middle school students in San Antonio.

A menacing mood permeates the form and content of my most recent work. As in the past, I am dealing with expressions that intertwine traditions and stereotypes with themes that are familiar to my generation. In developing these works, however, I came to see the figures not only as forms frozen in time but also as captives of a universal culture of sex and violence. Through the use of a foreboding palette of dark hues and dim light, I have tried to vest the figures with a keen self-awareness that is both evocative and erotic. In their gaze, one can read both a sexual longing and an explosive hedonism. By portraying forms with expressive and at times exaggerated gestures, I hope to reflect characters on the brink of an overwhelming sexuality or violence while offering a hint of the hidden pathos of everyday life.

Omar Rodríguez
"cañada #1"
4' x 5'
Acrylic on canvas

Born in San Juan, Texas, El Valle, in 1958, Rodríguez, a corporate and military nomad has lived and traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, Mexico, and Latin America. His mom, a Pentecostal minister, and, dad, a career Air Force veteran.

Rodríguez returned to his South Texas roots in 1989. Rodríguez has no formal art training. He has been painting since 2001. Rodríguez works are reflections of his journey on earth, mortality, peace, spiritual beliefs, joys and sorrows. His heart and soul are exposed for all to see. Rodríguez’s technique is the frenetic random use of color while scraping his paint onto canvas with forks, knives, branches, digits, rocks and many other objects to create his images. He is constantly searching for what is beyond the superficial and approaches every piece as if it were his last. Beyond that, no eloquent artist’s statements nor esoteric explanations will be given.

Rodríguez is collected internationally, with his works in private, corporate, and academic collections. Rodríguez work was featured in Naomi Shihab Nye’s Is This Forever or What? showcasing selected Texas artists and poets. His portraiture work was shown in the 2006 Ford and Smithsonian exhibition of Retratos: 2000 Years of Latin American Portrait at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Seven of Rodríguez large scale abstracts are part of the University of Texas System permanent collection.

During the day, Rodríguez, a former senior executive at a Fortune 500 company, provides health care consultative services to businesses. In the desperation of the night, he paints. Rodríguez is married to legendary fashion designer Verónica Prida and father to sons, Jacob and Octavio(+). He and Verónica split their time between San Antonio, Plano, and Huatulco, Oaxaca.

"the welcoming #1"
45' x 72"
Acrylic on canvas