In his landscapes, no matter what the year, Rodrigue adheres to the basic rules he established for himself in the late 1960s. Rejecting the spacious sky of traditional European-style paintings, he pushes a large oak to the front of his canvas, cropping the top of the tree so that the light shines in the distance and from beneath the branches. With its hard edge and strong shape, his oak stands like a symbol of both his state and culture.
In addition, he rejects specific locales, painting the Louisiana in his head as opposed to the one outside. In this way his paintings, no matter what the year or series, express a sense of mystery regarding time, place and, above all, meaning.
His challenge lies in working within these self-imposed parameters while developing his style. This is most obvious within the Acrylic Landscapes, where the basic rules apply, yet the paintings communicate a contemporary statement akin to Rodrigue’s Blue Dog canvases. He achieves this not only through his use of color, but also by adopting a sketch-like treatment using heavy, unblended pigment and large, loose brushstrokes.
His late landscapes, although rooted in his early dark canvases, reveal a mature artist, confident in his craft. Some include the familiar deep greens and browns; however none are so dark as his earliest works. And some paintings essentially interchange his subjects, so that the strong design and color of a tree might as well be that of a dog.
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