Merging the Abstract and the Surreal: Four Artists
by Feliks Karoly
The Great Divide between surrealism and abstraction, modes of expression once considered to be diametrically opposed, has gradually diminished, as postmodernism has ushered in an age of pluralism. This is the point made most clearly in the exhibition "Beyond Belief"...
Then there is Julie Rodriguez, an artist from San Francisco's Bay Area, where artistic eccentricity has an honorable history and is a way of life. Rodriguez employs mixed media, colored pencil, and whatever suits her fancy to create images of a rare and remarkable beauty. In her print, "The miracle of the loaves and the ..." four brilliantly mottled fish are arranged frontally against a solid black background in a manner that is at once abstract and as literal as Andy Warhol's prints of a dayglo cow.
The very important difference in Julie Rodriguez's work, however, is that rather than being Pop-literal, it is deeply mystical, magical, a wonder in both symbolic and purely visual terms.
Rodriguez partakes of the Bay Area tradition of treating surrealism as no big thing, just a normal facet of life, exemplified by artists such as Jess Collins and poets such as Robert Duncan. Her work is at once powerful and wryly bemused in the most appealing possible manner, and one can only hope to see more of it on this Coast as well.