"I am inspired by the elements of nature and earth at their fundamental and organic levels. Time has had and will continue to have many impacts on our environment. Some of these affects are positive forces and others are destructive, but they all change and alter the appearance of our earth. I'm interested in the way nature deconstructs itself. I find incredible beauty, but also a warning, in the aging process."
Max Rodriguez was born in Havan, Cuba in 1959. He studied at the University of New Orleans and continued at the Academy of Art College, San Francisco. His work is represented throughout the US and Germany and has been used in television and movies such as "Alias" and "Mission Impossible III" among others.
Artist's Statement Figurative Works:
As a Cuban living in exile in the United States since the age of seven, I’ve held on tightly to my childhood memories. Whether it was personal moments, history or folklore and superstitions, my memories have always been strong and clear, even though as a child I questioned what I witnessed. Why is the man playing guitar for money on the bus? Why do we have to wait in line so long for food? Why did family members leave and never return?
Many of the answers to my questions came as I grew older living in New Orleans and began to better understand the revolution in Cuba. As an artist, I am able to express myself through figurative paintings, and thereby, to bring forward the true impact of these early events. Not only did I need to lift the veil of my childhood innocence, I needed to physically lift this veil between what I saw happening in Cuba and the world and what I now knew were the true living conditions. Through my painting process I have been able to expose and express the religious, cultural and political activist within me.
The raised elements in each painting express how my memories are attempting to come out of a buried and suppressed place. The memories come to me in complete pictures, and I sketch as many of them as I can over a week-long period. Then I choose my favorite ones and transfer the images to canvas and Masonite board. It’s then that I apply heavy and raised textures and colors, which are all distinctly vivid in my mind. Eventually I come to a point where the painting is complete with all of its form and color -- a two-dimensional memory.
It is at this stage when the activist within me takes over, and I am compelled to lift the veil to show the viewer that there is more taking place than meets the eye. Underneath this seemingly tranquil scene is conflict and deterioration. I build upon the painting’s surfaces by applying techniques of aging crackles, weathered patinas and moisture stains to represent the decay of life in Cuba. I add rust spots and drips and cracks because my memories of these events have been damaged by the loss of human rights for my countrymen, and not only for Cubans, but for all who struggle for faith, food and freedom.
I want the viewer to be pulled into the painting by its composition; then, upon closer inspection, to want to touch the raised textures and discover the many elements and colors of each painting. These are the ways I tell my story as an artist.