The Frances Rodick Portraits / Frank Rodick / Canada
Opening April 16, 2015
Kaliningrad Art Gallery, Moscow Ave., 60-62
When artists write about their own work, what they usually come up with is an explanation or interpretation. They—we—try to answer the question What’s this work really all about?
The question is a good one and it makes sense perfect sense to ask it. But I’m just not comfortable answering it, especially with this work. Whatever inspired me, whatever questions I was looking to pose, whatever itch I was trying to scratch—the pictures are my answer. I think they’re a better answer than what I could tell you with words.
I’ll leave the interpretations to people more inclined and better suited to do just that. If people take the time to look carefully at my work and say what they think it’s about, I want them to know I’m sincerely honoured by their interest.
Instead, I’ll tell you the story behind the Frances Rodick portraits. More accurately, I’ll tell you a story because I wouldn’t presume it’s the conclusive story or that there even is one. I know how nebulous and muddy things get when it comes to the motives and emotions that exist within and between human beings.
I can’t tell you everything anyway . . . and I’m certain the pictures know more than I do.
Так или иначе, я не смогу рассказать вам все… но я уверен, что фотографиям известно куда больше, чем мне.
Frances Rodick is my biological mother. She’s dead now, so I can also say she was my mother. She lived long enough to be scarred by the Great Depression and to see the Twin Towers fall. She lived long enough to see her family grow modestly, and then—through madness, disease, and rancor—wither. Long enough to develop a sharp and stormy mind and then lose it, piece by piece but in the end completely.
My mother was born into a life that would be one degree of separation from a great catastrophe both acutely personal and terribly historical. She gave that tragedy a home inside herself, powered by a dark energy that snaked its way through every day of her life. Through a process more relentless than calculated, she made sure it would lodge itself inside me as well.
My mother’s life and mine showed me that Ibsen was right: sin and mayhem will run through generations, like blood through an artery. And just as quietly.
Over six days in 2004 I cremated my father and institutionalized my mother because her mind and body had fallen apart. As part of “managing things” I sifted through their belongings. These were people who saved everything, just in case.
Finding the photographs from the 1940s became my starting point. My father took some of them—he loved photographing my mother. I don’t know who took the others.
My mother lived another six years, in that crippled body and razed mind. One afternoon she looked at me and asked in a soft but clear voice, Did I ever have children? I told her “Yes, one,” but by then her mind had slipped away into that other dark world.
There are dozens of clichés about the death of one’s parents. Maybe the most common is the one that says it’s a reminder you’re next, that your time is coming. I don’t think that happened with me. I was already fairly acquainted with mortality’s fact, even my own.
Watching my parents I saw some of death’s work from up close. The way it makes seconds stretch into years and years collapse into moments. The way it makes doing that one last thing impossible: those words never said or taken back, that question never asked, the blessing never given.
There are things I admired about my mother. Her generosity. Her sense of humour. The ease with which she rejected God and Heaven.
At her worst Frances Rodick colluded with the spirits that tortured her, discharging an enraged and jagged pain into a shrunken world.
It was after her death that I started work on these images. I thought that was a coincidence, but maybe not. I forget who it was that said artists should create as if their parents are dead—because a parent can be the most insidious censor, the kind that operates straight out of one’s own mind and gut.
I began by laying out these old photos—pictures of my mother, and others too. I looked through my parents’ documents and papers, as many as I could find. Some were old—birth certificates, letters, business documents—and some more recent: wills, notes on medical care, the do-not-resuscitate orders, the death certificates. Parts of the text you see on my pictures came from those documents.
I never had a plan in making this work. Maybe these pictures of Frances Rodick are a kind of biography—of her, of me, of her and me stitched together in that sad and harrowing way we were. If they are, they’re a kind of hallucinatory biography, because, in the end, one only hazards a tremulous guess at knowing other people, especially one’s parents. But if they are hallucinations, perhaps they’re the kind Céline talked about—the hallucinations more real than everyday life itself. That’s how it feels quite often, and, as I think about it, that’s where my hopes lie.
Frank Rodick, 2012
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2014 Everything Will Be Forgotten, Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
2014 Frank Rodick: Faces, Flesh, and Other Hallucinations, Kirk Hopper Fine Art, Dallas, USA.
2013 Selections from Labyrinth of Desire, McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Dallas, USA.
2012 Faces Interred, F.A. Kovalenko State Art Museum, Krasnodar, Russia. Curated by Irina Chmyreva.
2010 Labyrinth of Desire: Work by Frank Rodick, The Deborah Colton Gallery, Houston, USA. Curated by Katherine Ware, Curator of Photographs, New Mexico Museum of Art and part of the FotoFest Biennial. (catalogue)
2007 The Longest Night, The Deborah Colton Gallery, Houston, USA.
2006 Arena, Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York City.
2006 Liquid City, Salade Exposiciones del Banco Exterior, Ciudad de Encarnación, Paraguay.
2006 Liquid City, Intendencia Municipal de Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay.
2006 Arena, www.luminous-lint.com. Web site dedicated to the history of photography (online).
2005 Liquid City, Salade Exposiciones del Banco Exterior, Ciudad de Encarnación, Paraguay.
2005 Arena, Galeria de Arte del Museo Maritimo de Ushuaia, Tierra del fuego, Argentina.
2005 Arena, Galeria Arkis, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
2005 The Celestial Abattoir, String Gallery, Toronto, Canada.
2005 Liquid City, Alliance Francaise, Asuncion, Paraguay.
2005 Arena, Fotogaleria del Teatro San Martin, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
2005 Liquid City, Museo de Bellas Artes de La Rioja (La Rioja Museum of Fine Arts), La Rioja, Argentina.
2004 Liquid City, Centro Cultural Los Espejos, Santa Fé, Argentina.
2004 Liquid City, I.S.C.E.A. (Instituto Superior de Ciencias Empresariales y Sociales), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
2004 Liquid City, Horacio Echaniz Gallery, Santa Rosa, Argentina.
2003 Liquid City, Museum of Fine Art and Museum of Photography, Rafaela, Argentina.
2003 Liquid City, Pasaje Cultural Dardo Rocha, La Plata, Argentina.
2003 Liquid City, José Hernandez Cultural Centre, Rawson, Argentina.
2003 Liquid City, Emilio Saraco Room, Neuquén, Argentina. Part of the Congress of the Argentine Association for Canadian Studies.
2002 Liquid City, Recoleta Cultural Centre, Buenos Aires.
2002 Liquid City, Cabildo Historico Museum, Cordoba, Argentina.
2002 Liquid City, Rosa Galisteo de Rodríguez National Museum, Santa Fe, Argentina.
2002 Liquid City, La Plata Photography Museum, La Plata, Argentina.
2002 Liquid City, Museum of Communications Media, Resistencia, Argentina.
2001 Liquid City, The Photo Passage, Toronto, Canada.
1998 The Bell Centre for Creative Communications, Toronto, Canada.
1997 Toronto Image Works Photography Gallery, Toronto, Canada.
1997 The Sir Sam Steele Art Gallery, Orillia, Canada.
1997 The Bell Centre for Creative Communications, Toronto, Canada.
1992 Eight Elm Gallery, Toronto, Canada.
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2014 MAC@20, Part II, McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Dallas, USA.
2014 The National: Best Contemporary Photography 2014, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, USA.
2014 UBUNTU, Articsók Gallery, Toronto, Canada.
2013 Extended Realities: The Language of Photomontage, curated by Stephen Perloff, editor & founder The Photo Review. Rowan University Art Gallery, Glassboro, USA.
2013 Fear & Loathing, Art Photo Index (online: www.artphotoindex.com), curated by Katherine Ware.
2013 Dallas Art Fair, Dallas, USA.
2013 Continuum, Arts & Letters Club, Toronto, Canada.
2013 A Different Kind of Order (Exhibition of photo books), International Center of Photography, New York City, USA.
2012 FotoFest 2012, Deborah Colton Gallery, Houston, USA.
2012 Transformations 2012, The Deborah Colton Gallery, Houston, USA.
2011 The Unseen Eye: Photographs from the W.M. Hunt Collection, George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, USA.
2011 Nofound/photofair, Presented by EYEMAZING, Paris, France.
2011 Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? The Charlatan Ink Art Prize Finalist Exhibition, The Carlton Arms, New York City.
2011 Center Forward, The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, USA. Curated by Hamidah Glasgow, Executive Director of The Center for Fine Art Photography.
2010 Colours: Blue, Luminous Lint (online).
2009 Microcosm, Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Canada.
2009 In the Air, Arta Gallery, Toronto, Canada.
2008 Reflections, The Deborah Colton Gallery, Houston, USA.
2008 Pentimento Gallery, Toronto, Canada.
2008 Showcase, Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Ottawa, Canada.
2008 Clear Views 02, Minnesota Center for Photography, Minneapolis, USA. (Four artists)
2007 Degrees of Separation, curated by John Bennette, Peer Gallery, New York City.
2007 Three Constructions of the Image, Ryerson University. Exhibition curated by Prof. Don Snyder, Dean of Image Arts, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. (Three artists)
2007 The New: Part One, Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Ottawa, Canada.
2007 The New: Part Two, Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Ottawa, Canada.
2006 Discoveries of the Meeting Place, FotoFest 2006, Houston. Erie City Iron Works. Work selected by Katherine Ware, Curator at Philadelphia Museum of Art.
2006 Rhubarb-Rhubarb International Auction: Preview Show, The Custard Factory, Manchester, UK.
2006 LePont Gallery, Aleppo, Syria.
2006 Double 6: Six occurring dialogues, Lee Ka-Sing Gallery, Toronto.
2005 Museum of Modern Art, Mendoza, Argentina. Three person show with Keith Carter and Cayetano Arcidiancono.
2003 Body is Required: The Permanent Collection VI, Museet for Fotokunst, Odense, Denmark.
2002 Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada.
2001 The Photo Review Benefit Auction, The University of the Arts, Dorance Hamilton Building, Philadelphia.
2000 Contact 2000, Art Gallery of Ontario, Rental and Sales Gallery, Toronto, Canada.
2000 The Photo Review Benefit Auction, The University of the Arts, Dorance Hamilton Building, Philadelphia.
1999 The Art Association of Harrisburg, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
1999 Photography ‘99,The Stage Gallery, New York.
1999 John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto, Canada.
1998 National Photography Competition, St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, a juried exhibition of twenty works by twenty photographers. Juror: Ellen Handy, curator, International Center for Photography, New York City.
1998 Body Prints, A Juried Exhibition of Prints Focusing on Figurative Images, Printmaking Council of New Jersey.
1997 Contact 1997, Art Gallery of Ontario, Rental and Sales Gallery, Toronto, Canada.
1997 The Bell Centre for Creative Communications, Toronto, Canada.
1997 Toronto Street Photography, Toronto Image Works Photography Gallery, Toronto, Canada.
1996 Contact 1996, Art Gallery of Ontario, Rental and Sales Gallery, Toronto, Canada.
1996 John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto, Canada.
1996 Cedar Ridge Gallery, Toronto, Canada.
1995 Cornwall Regional Art Gallery, Cornwall, Canada.
1995 The Library and Gallery, Cambridge, Canada.
1995 Urban Sites, Harcourt House Gallery, Edmonton, Canada.
1994 John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto, Canada.
2015 Everything Will Be Forgotten, Articsók Gallery, Toronto, Canada. (solo)
2015 Centro Colombo Americano. Part of ZOOMLAB international teaching project. Medellin, Colombia. (solo)
SELECTED GRANTS AND AWARDS
2013 Honorable Mention, International Photo Awards.
2011 Finalist, Charlatan Ink Art Prize Competition.
2011 Px3 Photographic Art Competition, Honourable Mention.
2010 The Robert Cornelius Award, First Prize in Portrait Category.
2010 Canada Council for the Arts, Visual Arts Project Grant.
2009 Ontario Arts Council, Exhibition Assistance Grant.
2006 Nominee, Santa Fe Prize for Photography.
2005 Ontario Arts Council, Visual Artists: Mid-Career grant.
2005 Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Arts Promotion Grant.
2005 Ontario Arts Council, Exhibition Assistance Grant.
2005 Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Arts Promotion Grant.
2002 Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Arts Promotion Grant.
2002 Canada Council, Travel Grant to Professional Artists.
2002 Ontario Arts Council, Exhibition Assistance Grant.
2000 Ontario Arts Council, Exhibition Assistance Grant.
1999 Ontario Arts Council, Exhibition Assistance Grant.
1998 Ontario Arts Council, Visual Arts Individual Grant.
1998 Nominee, Jean A. Chalmers Award, Visual Arts.
1997 Canada Council, Creation/Production Grant to Professional Artists in Photography.
1997 Canadian Association of Labour Media Award, Photography.
1994 Award of Merit, The Annual Open Juried Exhibition of the Ontario Society of Artists.
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY & OTHER MEDIA
Situs Ambiguus, Corrientes Revista (online), 2015. (forthcoming)
Catalogue of the XVIII Encuentros Abiertos, Argentina’s twelfth annual Festival of Light, July 2014.
Liquid Cities (Alternative Take). Monographic handmade booklet, printed and hand-sewn in a limited edition of 100. Published by AkinaBooks, 2014.
The HAND, Issue 4, April 2014.
One by One, catalogue published by Colorado Photographic Art Center for exhibition by same name, curated by Eric Paddock, Curator of Photography, Denver Art Museum, 2014.
“Best Books 2013: Eric Miles,” (for Of Liquid Cities and Celestial Abattoirs, see below), photo-eye BLOG, blog.photoeye.com, January 2014.
“Ten photobooks from 2013,” Matthew Carson, (for Of Liquid Cities and Celestial Abattoirs, see below), from “Monsters & Madonnas: The International Center of Photography Blog,” December 2013.
“This Great Misfortune.” Blog article by Nancy Brokaw, Image World, www.nbrokaw.blogspot.ca, September 2013.
“Extended Realities: The Language of Photomontage at Rowan University Art Gallery,” In the In-Between, www.inthein-between.com, December 2013.
“Of Taboos, Death, Love and Redemption.” Online interview with AkinaBooks, July 2013.
Of Liquid Cities and Celestial Abattoirs. A monographic handmade booklet, printed and hand-sewn in a limited edition of 100. Published by AkinaBooks, 2013.
Frank Rodick in Conversation with Katherine Ware. Video by Richard Serrano, Art This Week, April 2013.
“Uncharted Frontiers: An interview with photographer Frank Rodick.” M. M. Adjarian, Arts + Culture, April 2013.
PhotoVisa: 2012, video from Whymedia Production, 2013.
Sobaka, article on exhibition at F.A. Kovalenko State Art Museum. With photo. September 2012.
Px3 Competition catalogue, 2012.
The Unseen Eye: Photographs from the Unconscious, edited and with text by W.M. Hunt, introduction by William A Ewing. Book published by Aperture, 2011.
“Frank Rodick: Masquerade,” EYEMAZING, Winter 2011, text by Karl Johnson and photos, 2011.
Charlatan Ink Art Prize catalogue, published by Charlatan Ink LLC, 2011.
“Portfolio Review.” Irina Chmyreva, Photo User. Article and photo, 2011.
“The Death Mask in the Darkroom 2: The Window & the Mirror.” Nancy Brokaw, Image World, July 2011.
“The Death Mask in the Darkroom 1.” Nancy Brokaw, Image World, June 2011.
Center Forward exhibition catalogue, published by The Center for Fine Art Photography, 2011.
SHOTS Magazine, no. 112, Summer 2011.
“Frank Rodick,” EYEMAZING, issue #4-2010, text by Clayton Maxwell and photos, 2010.
“Labyrinth of Desire: Work by Frank Rodick.” Book accompanying exhibition of the same title at The Deborah Colton Gallery. Essay by Katherine Ware, Curator at New Mexico Museum of Art, 2010.
“From the Interior: Frank Rodick.” Article and interview by Darren Campion, The Incoherent Light (blog), September 2010.
“Participating Spaces.” Catalogue for FotoFest 2010, Houston. Article and photos, 2010.
“The Charnel House and the Peep Show,” by Nancy Brokaw, Image World (blog), March 2010.
“Frank Rodick,” by Darren Campion, The Incoherent Light (blog), February 2010.
“A Ruthless Voyeurism,” by Nancy Brokaw, Image World (blog), May 2009.
SHOTS Magazine, no. 104, Summer 2009.
“Ville Liquide de Frank Rodick,” Vay Ven, article on exhibition, November 25, 2006.
El Pais, article on exhibition, November 2006
La Republica, article on exhibition, November 2006
Galeria, article on exhibition, November 2006
“On the Town,” The New York Sun, Exhibition announcement with photo, September 28, 2006.
“Sex, Death, and Videotape,” by Nancy Brokaw, The Photo Review, Vol. 27, No. 4, Spring 2006.
Photonews (Germany), article and photo, April 2006.
FotoFest 2006 catalogue, Houston, 2006.
“Houston ’06,” fotoTAPETA (web site), article and photo 2006.
“Life’s Lacuna: The Vanishing Pleasure Dome. A Review of Frank Rodick’s ‘The Celestial Abattoir”, by Robert Black, Art Post Toronto, June 2005.
Catalogue for exhibition at Galeria Arkis, Buenos Aires, 2005.
Catalogue for exhibition at FotoGaleria del Téatro San Martin, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Essay by Juan Travnik, curator, 2005.
“In quest of a sensitive identity,” by Alina Tortosa, The Buenos Aires Herald, article and photos, 2005.
“Frank Rodick,” Clarin, (Argentina) March 6, 2005.
“Sex, lies, fear, violence and video,” Diario Nuevo Rioja, review of Arena exhibition at Museum of Fine Arts of La Rioja, February 2005.
“Arena,” El Independiente, article with photos, February 2005.
Interview with Marc Montgomery (regarding Arena), CBC Radio International, 2005.
“Arena,” Foto Mundo, article and photos, 2003.
“Keeping in Touch,” by Alina Tortosa, The Buenos Aires Herald, article and photo, September 2003
“An Indomitable Quest for Life As It Is,” by Alina Tortosa, The Buenos Aires Herald, article and photo, January 2003.
“Liquid City,” La Voz del Interior, article and photo, Argentina, 2002.
“Interview with Frank Rodick,” www.fotorevista.com.ar, August 2002.
“Frank Rodick: Transformation of an urban landscape,” Foto Mundo, article and photos, #410, August 2002.
Catalogue of the XII Encuentros Abiertos, Argentina’s twelfth annual Festival of Light, July 2002.
“A festival of personal images,” La Voz del Interior, Cordoba, Argentina, July 2002
“Portfolio: Frank Rodick,” by Stephen Perloff, The Photo Review, Spring 2000.
“Frank Rodick at Harbourfront Centre,” by Gary Michael Dault, The Globe and Mail, review, December 23, 2000.
“Noteworthy: Frank Rodick”, The National Post, exhibition listing and photo, October 28, 2000.
“The Haunting Beauty,” Tandem, article and photo, November 25, 2000
“Liquid City: The Photography of Frank Rodick,” myTO.com, web article, October, 2000.
“Frank Rodick—Liquid City,” toronto.com, editorial profile, November 2000.
Manhattan Arts International, photo, January-February 2000.
Merrick Life, review, March 1999.
The Photo Review, Summer 1997 Thirteenth Annual Juried Photography Competition. Juror: Emmet Gowin.
Q30 Design project for Domtar Sandpiper, photos, December 1997.
The Beach Metro News, review, May 1997.
Why Magazine, photos, Fall 1996.
The Lakesider, review and photo, February 1996.
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, USA.
Canadian Embassy to Argentina, Buenos Aires.
Escuela Argentina de Fotografia, Buenos Aires.
Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, USA.
Indie Photobook Library, Washington DC, USA.
The Kinsey Institute Collection, Bloomington, USA.
Lehigh University Art Galleries, Pennsylvania, USA.
The Library Project, Dublin, Ireland.
Musée de la Photographie à Charleroi, Belgium.
Museet for Fotokunst, Denmark.
Museo Nacional de Bella Artes de Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA.
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada.
The New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fé, USA.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Alfred Stieglitz Centre, Philadelphia, USA.
Works held in private collections in US, Canada, Europe, Argentina, and Russia.
SELECTED LECTURES AND WORKSHOPS GIVEN BY FRANK RODICK
“Strategies for becoming more creative,” workshop, Escuela Argentina de Fotografia, Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 2014.
Dialogue with curator Katherine Ware, McKinney Avenue Contemporary, March 2013.
Guest Speaker, Blackout Fest, Toronto, August 2012.
Artist/Curator Presentation and Discussion, “Labyrinth of Desire: Work by Frank Rodick,” Colton & Farb Gallery, FotoFest Biennial, Houston, March 2010.
Guest speaker, International Center of Photography, New York City, 2009.
“Working methods and creative process,” lecture to graduate students in Communications, Ryerson University, Toronto, May 2007.
“Photography and the creative process,” Argentine School of Photography, Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 2005.
“Liquid City, sub rosa, Arena, and the creative process,” Three day workshop, Argentine School of Photography, Cordoba, Argentina, August 2002.
“Liquid City and the progression to Arena,” Lecture, Alliance Francaise, Buenos Aires, August 2002.
“Enhancing the creative process in the arts,” lectures to Centennial College students, Toronto, Canada, 2000-2004.
SELECTED EXHIBITIONS AND COMPETITIONS JURIED BY FRANK RODICK
“Climate of Changes,” PHOTOVISA video competition, Fall, 2013.
“Man and Sea,” Photography competition, part of PHOTOVISA, the Second International Festival of Photography, Krasnodar, Russia, Fall, 2010.
“Water,” Annual Juried Exhibition of the Ontario Society of Artists, Toronto, July 2003.
Joseph Mei Scholarship for Visual Arts Student, Centennial College, Toronto, 2000.
EDUCATION / TRAINING
Ryerson University, Toronto: Photographic printing workshops taught by Henry Gordillo.
McGill University, Montreal, M.Ed.
Concordia University, Montreal: Courses in film and film theory.
U.C. Berkeley, California
University of Toronto, B.A.
Advanced Photoshop training with Dimitri Levanoff, master printer.