My work is my search for a spiritual philosophy that transcends simple duality.
Western religions often set up simplistic dualities: Good and evil, heaven and hell, spirit
and body, etc. I am fascinated by the complexity of human sexuality, transformation,
longing and transgression. I represent our human exuberance and decadence. I show
the reverse alchemical process of putrefaction and rebirth, the total abandonment of
rationality. I want to continue creating a syncretic universe in which all is integrated,
whether it be good or evil.
MFA University of Albuquerque, New Mexico
BFA San Francisco Art Institute, S.F., CA., BFA
AA Degree Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, CA.
La Sorbonne Universite, Paris, France
Far away from the sterile, pseudo-sanctified realm of the art museum, Tino Rodriguez gained his first
exposure to the art world in the Catholic churches of Mexico. In these mysterious, hushed interiors, images
of saints and angels seduced him, the scent of candle wax and incense beguiled him. Angels in particular –
androgynous, half animal-half human creatures – captivated Rodriguez with their allure. The legacy of this
seduction is visible in Rodriguez' work.
His fantastic paintings are present postmodern fairy tales. Their mythical qualities stem from childhood
legacies. Rodriguez came of age surrounded by the Mexican tradition of oral story telling. His grandmother,
family and friends passed on stories as diverse as La Llorna, Little Riding Hood, and tales of the Brothers
Grimm, as well as Aztec & Mayan myths. In his paintings such different cultural influences now commingle
with art historical references, Hindu deities and allusions to the contemporary world.
Rodriguez' work also challenges received gender ideologies, another strategy with personal roots. Many
of his self-referential images borrow iconographies traditionally associated with femininity in an attempt to
claim for himself and others "feminine" behaviors and feelings. Thus, images of babies and fetuses as well
as androgynous figures donning bridal veils populate his paintings, insisting that procreation, nurturing,
creativity and beauty be the modus operandi open to all. The veils, in particular, are potent signifiers of his
personal history. As a child, Rodriguez dressed up and danced in his sister's first communion veil. Weaving
together signifiers from Celtic fables, Northern European fairy tales, Mexican myths, Native American
legends, the history of art, as well as Catholic and Hindu iconography, magic, cross pollination, and gender
are major themes in the art of Tino Rodriguez. A citizen of the world, Rodriguez rejects the seriousness
and sterility of modernism for the fantastic iconographic wonders of postmodernism and post colonialism.
In addition, his paintings – reflective but not literal, self-referential but not solely self-destructive – conjure
events from his personal history in an attempt to engage the beholder in dialogue.
San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose CA.
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA.
Nevada Museum of Art Reno, Nevada.