|As the Elephant laughed by Peter Rodulfo|
One evening in conversation with the artist, over a bottle or two of wine, in between reminiscing about 1970's
There’s more than a little of the rebellious and eccentric about Rodulfo who exhibits archetypal Aquarian characteristics in his personality and art. Reticent and even downright self-depreciating at times, a casual glance at his book-case reveals favourite authors such as Honore de Balzac, no mean physiognomist himself and the autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections by the seminal psychologist C.G.Jung. Almost all the available wall space at his home is given to a kaleidoscopic gallery of his art, recent work and older personal favourites are all mixed together - Tolkienesque landscapes, animated portraiture of sharply-observed character and dream-like imagery jostle for the viewer's attention. Such a cornucopia of paintings gives a strong impression of a life-time devoted to production and testimony to an industrious and disciplined creativity.
Although he’s travelled the globe, it’s the city of
which Peter Rodulfo has chosen as home for decades. Here in an ancient, almost forgotten
corner of the English psyche, the mysterious east of Norwich England, life moves at a Do Different pace. Many artists have
relative calm; its been the home to gifted artists throughout the
centuries, from the days of medieval stained-glass designers to nineteenth
century 'Norwich School' artists, John Crome, John Sell Cotman and Joseph Stannard, who celebrated Norfolk’s ‘bootiful’
landscape. Norwich has often quietly nurtured creative artists with it’s relatively
stress-free urban living. The city is encircled by
an expansive, yet intimate landscape; a not quite flat, but undulating rural county; which makes the city geographically remote and not easily accessible, to the delight and consternation of its inhabitants. Norwich'
It’s easy for Rodulfo to give a nod to the art of Paul Klee, Max Ernst and De Chirico for example, while remaining very much his own man. Although his art utilizes some of the techniques and motifs associated with surrealism, more correctly, magical realism he retains his artistic integrity. Labels are often misguiding and Rodulfo wisely eschews any eager and simplistic labelling of his still evolving creativity. But although comparisons can be misleading, there is one British artist whose art is worthy of note in technique and imagination to Rodulfo's - that of the self-exiled British surrealist artist Leonora Carrington (1917-2011). Like Carrington, Rodolfo acknowledges the role the unconscious psyche plays in his creativity. Like Carrington, Rodulfo's symbolism is home-grown and capable of striking a deep chord in its unconscious association. Finally, like Carrington, Rodulfo is equally adept at composing a layered field of perspective to showcase his artistic vision. His paintings, like the best of surrealist or magical realist painters can be a vivid encounter with the unconscious psyche or more correctly in Rodulfo's case, a polite enquiry into the relationship of the viewer to their own unconscious psyche.
Rodulfo's canvas As the Elephant laughed (top) exhibits a rich vocabulary of symbolism evoking a microcosm of life on earth. The relentless march of time is depicted by the eroding cliffs of the Norfolk coast framing the composition. Its detailed brushwork includes stars and the ocean, perhaps the most common of all symbols of the unconscious psyche. Proto-zoo marine-life, animals and ageing humans are depicted in a skillfully layered composition evoking the cosmic nature of time. It's a canvas lush in colouration which instantly transports the viewer to internal landscapes of the imagination where symbol and magic are mystically intertwined. As with the best of Rodulfo's art, imagery, technique and imagination alchemically coagulate to form an absorbing viewing experience.
|Ready for Action ! by Peter Rodulfo|
Another recent example of Rodulfo's highly original magical realism occurs in an hallucinatory canvas depicting a wide-awake night-mare or Taurean night terror. The viewer is subjected to a full face encounter with a sullen pugilist Minotaur, weighing up his opposition, perhaps before a frenzied headlong charge. Set within an instantly recognisable as
Through decades of hard work Rodulfo, rather unwittingly one suspects, has become a grandmaster of magical realism in his art, even though his creativity has yet to reach its zenith. One cordially wishes that the artist will enjoy years more fulfilling his creativity to the delight of his growing number of admirers.
In January 2012 Peter Rodulfo released no less than twelve photographic images of new paintings to public view. I've chosen just two of his paintings from a total of over 60 in his facebook portfolio for 2011/12 alone. With such a varied and expansive back-catalogue and with many paintings quite different in subject-matter, but equal in terms of technical virtuosity, its well worth checking out more of Rodulfo's art-work.
See more of Peter Rodulfo's paintings here
See more of Peter Rodulfo's paintings here