Monday, August 11, 2014

The darker side of Rodney Wood, coming to Kadoya Friday

Posted By on Mon, Aug 11, 2014 at 4:37 PM

Gregory Howell of the Kadoya Gallery doesn't shy away from strange or even frightening imagery.

Back in March, Raúl Sosa exhibited his "Crossed the Line" series, manipulated photos of mutilated bodies. (You can see them here.) As to whether or not the violence of them is gratuitous is the question — and to be clear, they were only one part of a multifaceted art show with decidedly not-dead other subjects — but it takes courage to show work like that.

Now, it's not really courage to have the privilege of housing a Rodney Wood show, which Kadoya is doing starting on Friday, but the Trinidad artist has taken a new path with his work, with a focus on macabre subjects. Wood has started shooting photographs of specimens in medical and history museums (according to Howell, his "Fate" series), and abandoned mental asylums and prisons ("Penetralia" series.)

The results are at first shocking. I must admit I find myself wondering what exactly is artistic about objects suspended in formaldehyde. However, I think that actually has more to do with my choking fear of death than a comment on artwork, or the grander ideas of art with a capital "A." After all, the title of the show is Unexpected Intrusions of Beauty, and if all those coffee mugs/posters/inspirational mouse pads have anything to say, it's that art is about making us think. (And facing our fears, another axiom for the ages.) Here, the artist in his own, far more eloquent words:
As I travel near and far, I find people, places and things that force me to revisit the concept of beauty. It is not difficult to find beauty in expected venues but that makes me wonder if that is my definition or one that has been trained/learned. I am most taken aback when beauty appears in the most unlikely of circumstances. This speaks to a level of feeling beyond merely my eyes.

For some this imagery may seem “dark” or even shocking. For me the “shock” came in that the beauty appeared so unexpectedly and brought such deep emotions. Those mysteries serve as my muse.
Here's some of what to expect, and fair warning to the squeamish among us, the photos are after the jump. For more information about the show — to include 10-12 paintings and about 20-26 photographs — click here.

click to enlarge COURTESY RODNEY WOOD
  • Courtesy Rodney Wood
click to enlarge COURTESY RODNEY WOOD
  • Courtesy Rodney Wood

click to enlarge COURTESY RODNEY WOOD
  • Courtesy Rodney Wood
click to enlarge COURTESY RODNEY WOOD
  • Courtesy Rodney Wood

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