THE MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE 2003 – 2004
“In my paintings, for THE MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE, I have used the stills from an experimental narrative video—by the same title. These are situated simultaneously on a river bank where my grandparents settled after migrating to California from Mexico, and in a movie studio. The action in the film revolves around a picnic, real but staged, with a group of friends debating the value of art and the making of a commercial about family memories.” Eventually the two stories mesh, demonstrating the Latino experience in America from the past to the present (from the working to middle class). As more and more Latinos and Latinas enter the middle, class, Rodriguez believes, “It is imperative to continue to discuss the interaction of issues, such as labor, immigration, class, gender, sexuality and the family”.
And La Banda Played On , 60” x 120” x 2”, Oil and wax on Linen on Panels, 2004.
This painting is part family memoir, part U.S. history and part art history. It all converges in attempts to look at the ongoing process and changing face of the American Dream. The setting for this painting is the riverbank near Modesto, California where my four grandparents settled after emigrating from Mexico in the early 19th Century. The four people in the foreground are a re-staging of an old family photograph that includes my father Peter, my aunt Tonia, my uncle Frank and a friend of theirs. The baptism in the background recants my grandmothers adopted religion. The contemporary figures; the flower vendor, the homeless man and La Banda Mariachi, are meant to remind us of the challenges that this country faces as the United States continues to be for many, the possibility to turn hopes and dreams for a better life into reality.
Paradise, 48” x 67” x 2”, Oil and wax on Linen on Panel, 2003.
This painting was inspired by Manet’s, Dejeuner sur l’herbe, and the portraits of Velasquez. This setting is again, the riverbank where my grandparents settled after emigrating from Mexico in the early 19th Century. As more and more Latinos move into the middle class, I think it is important to remember our histories. These four men; the urban poet, the middle class cool dude, and the zoot suiter are painted in traditional portrait manner. However, the focal point of the work is the Immigrant who literally, interrupts the painting and our consciousness seeking the often abstract concept of “paradise”.
Frontline Caballeros, 29” x 21” x 2”, Oil on Bark Paper on Panel, 2002.
Renders mid-19th century Texas and Mexican patriarchal histories.