Raul Rodriguez’s oil pastel drawings came from a series he started doing in the summer of 2004 when he was vacationing in Baguio. “Basically, the impulse to draw things, or to draw things from my head, started the series,” recalls Rodriguez on Drawing To and Fro, his latest one-man exhibit at West Gallery.
“At that time I was just thinking of art, and artworks I wanted to execute as paintings, but didn’t have the luxury of time to do them. So what I did, with oil sticks at hand, was to just make studies on Oslo paper,” Rodriguez explains, on finding inspiration. “Usually, the images I select (which incidentally were the ‘sparkplugs’ that drove me to think) were from existing pictures of paintings from art books and magazines. Some were from book covers; some were done by unknown artists, and some I happened to fancy as illustrations from magazines…It boils down to composition, or, as Miles Davis tried to reduce in simplest terms in his music, it’s a matter of balance. But the balance here maybe between the space between visual elements in the picture field, or the tension I create when I intentionally create an imbalance of object and subject. It’s capturing the moment when my imagined, preconceived visual pictured collides or interacts at the moment of drawing it. It’s like messing with the plan to make a new plan out of thin air which ideally must surprise me. I open myself to the accidental so that the spontaneous can speak through, too.”
He uses different hues and shades of pastel, drawing from impressionism, post-impressionism, and expressionism in mixing colors. Rodriguez notes, “We haven’t really fathomed what these -isms of art mean unless we investigate carefully what’s happening in the artists’ minds as well…The drawings may appear like oil paintings, and I like it that way, making drawings more permanent and stately in appearance than they really are.” He intends to show a handful of drawings that may appear unconnected to each other, making them more tentative yet making up a puzzle as a whole.
“For me, art’s newness redefines art in a new light or set of perspective…Painting can be an installation of forces emitted by objects or images we combine, and have a sudden eureka as a result. It helps a lot not to think about color and paint for a while…like art taking a vacation to see more art. The drawings represent memories on hindsight. It’s good to review what’s happening to me and my head when I did these drawings…These are like footprints, or traces of thoughts I wished were permanent and immortalized. But, like photographs, drawings on paper may serve as tools of memories of visual thoughts I find interesting, and not necessarily beautiful. Maybe I have accomplished something by just showing you the transient things I consider art.”