Exploring the world opened up by a work of art
This week’s showcase:
“Don’t Get Above Your Raisin’ “
Acrylic on mounted panel, 24″ x 30″
Ah, the wonderfully weird and wacky world of Rodger Roundy. At first glance it’s akin to children’s fairy tale fodder filled with action and fantasy. But don’t be fooled. Rodger packs an adult wallop, rife with social commentary, insider intrigue and poignant historical insinuations.
“Don’t Get Above Your Raisin’ ” references an old southern expression admonishing folks not to get above their born station in life. Here, Rodger renders in great shadowy sepia detail the deleterious escape of certain young school girls floating away in rapturous bliss as they rise above the confines of their given “station”. While others, not so fortunate or willing, kick, scream, tug and stare in protest as their compatriots ethereally ascend.
With regard to those left behind, we are reminded of the iconic “Scream” by Edvard Munch and Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World”. All very curious. And what’s with the stout girl resolutely standing in opposition to it all? Is she chewing bubble gum with her fingers in her mouth, or is she a whistling referee, whilst her skirt blows skyward? (Oh Marilyn) Who knows? It’s all very wonderful. Then of course, there’s the nod to Tinker Bell in the upper left corner, lighting the way to Neverland — (“Second star to the right and straight on till morning”). And just in case you need another famous reference, there’s the overall composition of Jacob’s Ladder, as in the famous early Renaissance painting by Nicolas Dipre. (Now we’re cookin’)!
Rodger is also known for his paintings of multitudes of young girls, at once all the same, sort of a sorority club mentality, as if in a gaggle . . . yet each girl’s face is rendered with great variation, personal identity and introspective bemusement, which leaves the viewer with the interesting juxtapositional tension of singular/plural, individual/collective.
Rodger’s brain is, well, . . . unique, as he adeptly connects humor, history, disparate ideas, concepts and imagery in a lighthearted, fun manner, one that still manages to bring home a serious thought-provoking point of view.
After all, no matter who you are, rising above whomever you were slotted to be is no small feat, indeed. Fortunately for us, in Rodger’s world, all things become possible.