Ecclesiasticus: Emilio Héctor Rodríguez’s Paintings
Canizaro Library Exhibit
September 7 – November 15, 2015
The Canizaro Library is running an exhibit through mid-November featuring the paintings of artist Emilio Héctor Rodríquez. The exhibit, which is located on the second floor of the Library, opened on September 7th with a dessert reception and an appearance from the artist himself.
[The artist Emilio Héctor Rodríguez speaks with guests at the AMU exhibit’s opening.]
Rodríguez was born in Cuba in 1950. From an early age, he was drawn to art, but he ended up putting this interest on hold while he earned a degree in Computer Science from the University of Havana. Rodríguez painted figurative art until 2007, when he began working in the abstract. He has studied with the painter Jesús Antonio Valdovino Diaz, and more recently, under the guidance of Dominica Alcántara. In 2010, Rodriquez founded the 7 Plus One Art Project, a group of artists who present abstract art projects in the Miami-area.
The exhibit currently on display in the AMU Library began back in 2010, when Rodríguez was preparing for his exhibit, “There is an Appointed Time for Everything,” featuring paintings connected to the book of Ecclesiasticus (also known as Sirach). Four of the twenty-one paintings on display are from this first series; river sand was incorporated into these four, giving them their distinctive look. The other seventeen paintings are acrylic and graphite, and they feature Rodríguez’s signature amoebic forms amid geometric lines and shapes (a marriage of his two backgrounds—technical and artistic). Each of the twenty-one paintings is paired with and reflects on a line of text from Ecclesiasticus. “It is a message that can be understood by everyone,” Rodríguez explained. Whether a viewer has faith or not, he said, they are able to understand the message of how to live well and how to cultivate good relationships.
“I think that the combination of abstract art and sacred art is exciting,” said Dr. Paul Baxa, Associate Professor and Chair of History at AMU. “Jennifer Nodes [Director of Library Services] has done a wonderful job in using the library as a showcase for contemporary artists. Rodríguez is effective in integrating Biblical texts with abstract shapes. … With exhibitions such as these, AMU is living up to the call made in 2009 by Pope Benedict when he met with a group of renowned contemporary artists in the Sistine Chapel. At that meeting, he called for a renewed dialogue between artists and the faith. AMU with its openness to modern and contemporary art and architecture is just the place for that dialogue to happen.”
[A painting from first series, featuring river sand: “The wise have their eyes open, the fool walks in the dark. No doubt! But I know, too, that one fate awaits them both” (Ecclesiastes 2:14). Mixed Media on Canvas, 2010).
The exhibit is open to the public and can be viewed during the Library’s operating hours.