This series is an exploration of Rodez’s Hispanic culture and roots. The Afro-Caribbean series began in his early 20s, and even though it has evolved in name, technique, and even message over time, it is one he continues to enjoy creating.
Rodez describes this series as a mixture of the old with the new, the Cuban and the American, the Caribbean and the African, all rolled up into one delicious palette of colors. He uses subjects and images that would normally be used in folkloric Cuban paintings and gives them a modern pop style twist. Rodez claims that what he accomplishes in creating these paintings is a sense of voyaging back to Cuba, transforming it, and making it fresh and new, as if never touched by its over half-century of stagnation. The works act as a defibrillator bringing back to life the Cuba, Before Castro, and foretelling of the possibilities of a new beginning for the lost island of Cuba. The paintings themselves reflect the bold and vibrant colors of the stained glass used throughout the Caribbean, and with his signature double-blue backgrounds, representing Day and Night, or time, the paintings provide an illusion of being three-dimensional.
They have also been compared to Panamanian “molas”, appearing to be embroidered, but in fact they are not. It is, in a sense, a hypnotic illusion that Rodez states mesmerizes and camouflages the fact that many of these paintings hold a certain degree of dysfunctionality not always apparent to the casual viewer. They are not just beautiful paintings; they serve to acknowledge and bring awareness to the more serious conditions in his parents’ homeland and those of others throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.
Many of these paintings also contain “malangas” (vine-like plants) which have a secret life of their own that is only revealed to those willing to study them. To study them is to slowly discover the unique world of these apparently insignificant plants — rhythmic, magical, and harmonious with its surroundings and all other living and non-living things — telling us their secrets.
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