Daniel Rios Rodriguez makes intimate and exuberant semi-figurative paintings that combine images from nature with fantastical visions. The artist works on a small scale, building coarse layers of impasto upon homemade panels in irregular shapes (uneven rectangles, ovals, starburst forms with jagged edges). Often these assemblages bear impromptu frames, built by the artist with found wood, frayed strips of rope, nails or copper wire, introducing a collaged element. “Daniel Rios Rodriguez’s quirky, unassuming paintings don’t fall into any easily recognisable niche or category”, writes Art in America’s Kyle MacMillan. Though his work is informed by the canon of European Modernism and art historical painting, the artist looks equally towards peripheral figures like the visionary Texan painter Forrest Bess.
Rios Rodriguez’s subject matter is mostly derived from nature. Many paintings provide an obscured and abstracted version of the artist’s personal experiences – vivid vignettes enriched by a cosmic colour palette and bold, decorative flourishes. Other works filter the time-honoured genres of still life, landscape and memento mori through the kaleidoscopic lens of American folk art: paintings of birds, rivers, flora and fauna are embellished with dried ears of wheat, fragments of rock, feathers or seashells. This perverse and unsettling treatment of the traditional subjects of European painting, enshrined with organic detritus, imbues Rios Rodriguez’s paintings with an almost talismanic quality.
Current and forthcoming exhibitions include Right Here, Right Now: San Antonio, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (28 April – 5 August 2018); It was literally the wreck of jewels and the crash of gems, a two-person exhibition with Kate Newby, Nicelle Beauchene, New York (28 June – 17 August 2018) and a solo show at San Antonio Museum of Art, Texas (2019). Recent solo exhibitions include Cooper Cole, Toronto and Controlled Burn, Nicelle Beauchene, New York (2017); Lulu, Mexico City; Western Exhibitions, Chicago (both 2016); Artists Looking at Art, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio (2015).
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