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Nancy Brokaw, Image World, 2015
A lie can be powerful and beautiful, and photography is such a fantastic liar. It’s part of what makes it such a great medium.
Frank Rodick and arts writer Nancy Brokaw discuss the shift from analog to digital, and what it means to photography as an art and the creative process behind it.
Emese Krunák-Hajagos, ArtToronto, 2015
I just make pictures. I make pictures to flesh out my personal obsessions and ruminations, to amuse myself, to have something to do that doesn’t bore me and doesn’t feel like a waste of time, to do something rather than nothing, sometimes to share something of myself with others, sometimes to scratch a nasty itch. What other people choose to do with the things I make isn’t up to me.
Emese Krunák-Hajagos, publisher and writer for artoronto.ca, talks to Frank Rodick about his latest work, how people interpret it especially in light of the Russian controversy, and how he lives with his pictures.
The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Dallas, 2013
In this three-part video, curator Katherine Ware and Frank Rodick discuss his work, including the earliest from Liquid City, to his latest projects in which Rodick builds on material from his family archives. The McKinney Avenue Contemporary presented this discussion as a public talk in March 2013.
Nancy Brokaw, 2013
...what we cannot ignore in these pictures—what makes them especially harrowing, especially discomforting—is that the subjects are Rodick’s own parents. How many of us could paint such a desiccated picture of our father? And how many would delve so relentlessly into our mother’s psyche? What stays the hand is not simply the guilt—although guilt certainly plays its part—but rather the dawning understanding that what is truly revealed is the state of one’s own soul.
Nancy Brokaw writes about Frank Rodick's work based on family life, including the l live there now series and the Frances Rodick diptychs.
Alex Bocchetto, 2013
About the rejection of redemption I can understand why people got pissed, many still think that art should be cathartic; they think it’s OK if the artist leads me into a creepy jungle as long as he can point to a way out. The refusal of redemption means the viewer must find his way out somehow, make sense of the surroundings and put at stake his own ideas. (Alex Bocchetto)
Frank Rodick discusses his work with the founders of AkinaBooks.
M. M. Adjarian, Arts + Culture, 2013
If somebody says something like, “That rang true for me in a visceral kind of way,” after looking at something I did, that means a lot to me. I think one of the functions of art is to keep people good company. And good company is not always necessarily cheerful or glib company. It says, “I’m walking with you wherever you happen to be stepping. And I come from a place that isn’t exactly the place you come from, but it’s a place that is in the neighborhood.”
M.M. Adjarian interviews Frank Rodick about his work process, favourite photographers, and the role of literature in making his images.
Darren Campion, 2012
Frank Rodick is an artist concerned above all with the body and how that tangible “image” of human presence might be conceived of in photographic terms—made visible, even as it comes undone. There is little consolation in Rodick’s world, but it is not, at the same time, lacking a sympathetic understanding of the forces that shape our ongoing predicament. His subject here is the further transfiguration of memory into something visceral, a bodily state, if one that is paradoxically without substance, a posthumous knowledge.
One of our best photo writers discusses Rodick's portraits of his mother and how he uses them as "both recovery and exorcism."
Karl E. Johnson, Eyemazing Winter 2011
...the inevitable search for truth, even the nakedness of truth, is not achieved by way of "traditional" nudity —a simple absence of clothing. [Rodick,] thinking along such lines (heightened by an atmospheric, almost Proustian fog) attracts and confounds viewers in Masquerade. The woman's foggy nudity becomes, so to speak, a doorway to revelation and represents the aura of reminiscences outside of time.
In this article published in Eyemazing Magazine, Karl Johnson takes a detailed look at Frank Rodick's 2011 series of nudes, Masquerade.
Darren Campion, The Incoherent Light, 2010
Rodick finds grotesque (but faithful) mirrors for our own tragic profanity, our brokenness and the impossible hope for redemption, this horribly immediate and liquid flesh, with its longings that cannot be fully satisfied, yet never denied. He goes even further to demonstrate its presence; these are dense objects, enclosures for the slaughterhouse tracings of desire.
A discussion of Rodick's work along with an interview. In two parts.
Clayton Maxwell, Eyemazing Magazine, 2010
Rodick’s art suggests that there is something powerful in our capacity, as humans, to bear witness, to pay attention to another person’s suffering. We can lessen the sting of the world’s indifference by our own willingness to witness, which is what Rodick achieves through his careful, considerate revitalisation of these images.
Nancy Brokaw, Image World, 2010
Like Duchamp’s use of the peep show, the format Rodick has chosen forces you into an intimate relationship with what is revealed because you discover it on your own. No respectful distance separates you from the image before you, no fellow gallery-goers distract you with their chatter, no competing artworks call to you from the opposite wall.
With her customary sparse and elegant prose, arts writer Nancy Brokaw analyzes Frank Rodick's Revisitations series, comparing the piece Uncovering, no. 1 (horse in barbed wire) to works as diverse as those by Duchamps and photographs from the American Civil War.
Katherine Ware, 2009
The search for meaning, the drive to make sense of the fragments of our earthy abattoir, is as ineluctable a human trait as all the rest.
From Kate Ware's essay on Frank Rodick's work from 1991 to 2010, which appears in the book Labyrinth of Desire.
Nancy Brokaw, Image World, 2009
In the Faithless Grottoes pictures, I find myself, again and again, looking—peering—into the scene. But not in a casual way. I feel locked into this exchange, held in place the way that the audience in a darkened movie theater is somehow the victim of the images flickering on the screen.
Nancy Brokaw discusses "voyeurism and the ethics of looking," examining Rodick's Faithless Grottoes in the context of work by artists such as Vermeer and Antonioni.
Marcia Mercadante, 2006
Eroticism is restored to its original portrayal in antiquity, equated with cosmic force and divinity. Rodick takes us by the hand through this dense, dark labyrinth of many paradoxes—pain and joy, violence and release, laughter and tenderness, power and pleasure, masculine and feminine—as we can be ultimately liberated through participation in this visceral metamorphosis.
Don Snyder and Melodie Ng, Ryerson University, 2006
The images [from Faithless Grottoes] are frenetic, even psychedelic. The photographs appear almost as stills of moving images, due to the repetition, shifts of colour, and video quality of Rodick’s technique. Electric blue and glowing orange dominate the palette. Bodies and faces take over the frame, emerging from black voids.
Dean of Ryerson's School of Image Arts, Don Snyder and artist Melodie Ng write about Faithless Grottoes in their curatorial statement for the 2006 exhibition.
Katherine Ware, 2006
Using blurred, truncated views of the human form, Rodick taps into the powerful ambiguities of pleasure and pain in his images, forcing us to examine our untidy interiors. Inside each of us, he suggests, is a heart of darkness, a core that isn’t rational, civilized, or predictable. Rodick’s images bring us into direct confrontation with that physiological self which is, for many, frightening and forbidden -- yet so fascinating it compels our gaze.
Then Curator of Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Katherine Ware discusses her selection of Frank Rodick's Arena for the FotoFest biennial in 2006.
Nancy Brokaw, The Photo Review, 2006
Difficult terrain, this — for viewer and artist alike. One’s first response is to flinch, to turn away. I take one look and ask Do I really want these images lodged in my brain? Once you’ve crossed over into the mysteries of life and death, can you get a return ticket?
In this piece, Brokaw writes a detailed analysis of Rodick's Arena.
Robert Black, 2005.
Rodick's photographs are lacunas, gaping oral memories of what takes place inside and between bodies. Regardless of subject matter, Rodick's images are not concerned with despair and dissolution alone but are equally concerned with the opposite: ecstasy. Why is that we segregate the two, for is not despair a part of the ecstatic?
Photographic artist and poet Robert Black writes about Arena.
Stephen Perloff, The Photo Review, 2000
Rodick reminds us that the city is still a place of bubbling energy and provocative mystery. The beings who populate his Liquid City are neither objects of leering, elitist humour, or patronizing sympathy. Rather they assert themselves unashamedly, people without faces, children with paws instead of hands.
Stephen Perloff, founder and editor of The Photo Review, writes about Frank Rodick's first body of work.