contemporary views of the body
By George Kinghorn, Chief Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville
Terry Rodgers captures an upper-class characterized by empty excess.
In realist tradition, he depicts a world of affluent cocktail gatherings and pool parties of fashionable suburbanities. The posture of the inhabitants in his paintings appear comfortable among their lavish surroundings, yet their expressions are bored, disconnected, and riddled with insecurities.
In Dana's Pool, buff, polished bodies are replaced with the ample folds of exposed sun-drenched flesh. Party guests look on as a central male figure lunges toward a grouping of nude women under the cool shade of a patio umbrella. The female figure in the foreground is an imposingelement, a device that Rodgers uses in many of his works to bring a sometimes reluctant viewer into the painting. Rodgers leaves us to question what events brought theseindividuals together to disrobe and splash around in the backyard swimming pool.
His brush strokes are generous and varied, from the frivolousness of beachside vacations to the psychologically complex, and often dark glimpses of everyday life. In Halloween Breakfast, Rodgers evokes a strange sexual tension among this middle-class family. Dad is conspicuously comfortable in his nudity, his robe open as he navigates the kitchen. The expression on the face of the costumed child is most telling as it conveys a cautiousness, of something that is untold.