Frank Rodick
 
 

selected work

To see any or all series in their entirety, and/or to get more information such as edition sizes, availability, and prices, contact Frank Rodick.

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untitled selves

2017 (selected works)

Evolving from his earlier self-portraits and the portraits of his parents (Frances and Joseph), Frank Rodick's latest work, the eighteen images called untitled selves, stand as another stage in the evolution of his engagement with memory, mortality, and the medium of portrature. These self-portraits are stripped, even flayed—emptied of colour and stark in contrast, images in an active state of transformation and dissolution. They suggest something beyond evanescence—an unmooring perhaps, and a sense that life is "as much syncope as it is experience."

 
 

 


Joseph 

2016 (selected works)

When I look at these six images, what do I see? I see the human face of time and its juxtapositions, that what looks and feels like a long life is a cipher. Emerging from a life left in more ways than one, I see what looks like a man’s destiny and feels like a tragedy. I see a boy, a man, looking—aren't we all?—for something. "I wanted to see," he said, at the end. But what?

Excerpted from On Wanting to See, the Invisible Jury, a Small Red Box: Notes on Making My Father’s Portrait, Frank Rodick's essay on the personal odyssey behind behind this six work series.

 
 

 


Everything will be forgotten / Season of mists

2014-15 (selected works)

He found them, decades after they were made: old snapshots of himself, as a child. At first they meant little, but over time they pulled him in. After poring over these small prints for months, Frank Rodick realized "I could use these small photos of a boy in a bath. I knew I could transform these old pictures into something that would use a boy’s pale thin body—my body—to give voice to the manifestation of secrets, eruptions of emotion and intemperance, those violent shadows and longings." These are the images that would become the series of seven pictures called Everything will be forgotten. And, from there, the trio of images—Season of mists—showing himself as a man, a lifetime later. Read the artist's statement here.

 
 

 


Frances 

2011-2014 (selected works)

Perhaps these pictures are a memoir—of her, of me, of her and me stitched together in that sad and harrowing way we never stopped being. If they are, I suppose they’re a hallucinatory memoir because one hazards only a tremulous guess at knowing other people, including oneself and—especially—one’s parents. But if they are hallucinations, maybe they’re the kind Céline wrote about: constructions, some shining and some terrible, but in the end more real than the everyday experience of life.

— Frank Rodick, excerpted from his essay on the thirteen pictures based on his mother's life and death.

 
 

 


Revisitations / I live there now

2010-2012 (selected works)

Comprising five and three works respectively, these two series share the same mode of presentation: vibrantly reflective small-scale images, installed in unique wooden cases handcrafted specially for each picture. The images are constructed from Frank Rodick's descent into his family archives—materials compiled over more than a half century, largely through his parents' used and antiquarian book business. In this mountain of books, documents, and photographs, he found pictures from sources as diverse as antiwar propaganda of the First Great War, early pornography, and historical materials based on the events that defined his parents' deepest experiences, in particular World War II and the Holocaust. These were also the images that demarcated Rodick's early life, personal totems he discovered during secretive childhood wanderings. Returning to them after decades—an experience as much physical as psychological—released a surge of memories, associations, and sensations. The result was a set of intimate, tactile works that speak to the potency of conflict, pain, and remembrance. For more detailed artist's statements, see the essays on Revisitations and I live there now.

 
 

 


Masquerade 

2011 (selected works)

As the photographic offspring of sub rosa, the nudes of Masquerade significantly further Rodick's work with the human figure. In the creative scheme of things, they present the female form as an unheard of crystal ball of flesh, and the drama in its shimmering "skin of glass" as overpowered by a dialogue on memory and time.... The feat of Masquerade is that it offers viewers a drama of the mind (in the guise of nudes) in which an 'atmosphere of reverie and chimera' takes over. 

—Karl Johnson, from his essay on Masquerade, where, calling Frank Rodick "one of today's foremost photographic narrators," he analyses the fourteen images in this series.

 
 

 


Faithless Grottoes

2006-2009 (selected works)

In 2006, I incorporated digital imaging into my practice, reaping the slightly dizzying bounty of that technology. New possibilities for scale, colour, and nuances of manipulation were now available to me and from all that came the Faithless Grottoes works. But I stuck with the original stills I’d made years earlier as my starting points. They’d become like totems for me, imbued with a an intimate magic I felt bound to.... Through it all, the human figure remained the uncontested reference point. To this day there's nothing, for me, so devastatingly expressive as the human face and body, no visual element—in all its iterations and transformations—more capable of piercing and splaying open the human heart, at least this one. Of course, there were many other elements injected into these tableaux—the surface detailing, the melding of foreground with background and subject, the bending of form and colouration—and these acted as supporting agents and accelerants. But the core setting for this work remained the same: those dark cathedrals of inner life, their architecture mapped out by patience, desperation, and delirium—all of it titrated through the human form.

— Frank Rodick, in his essay on the fifteen works that make up Faithless Grottoes as well as the earlier Arena pictures of 2002-2005. 

 
 

 


Arena

2002-2005 (selected works)

As in sub rosa and Liquid City, these images are not characterized by stasis, randomly snatched as they often are from low-resolution moving pictures. Degraded and imprecise, they reinforce our sense of being outside the boundaries of normal reality. The artist again harnesses the powerful associations of the mimetic image while always working to subvert the documentary quality of photography. Here, too, the approach approximates the vivid but indistinct quality of the fantasies and nightmares that play nightly in the private theaters of our minds.

— Katherine Ware, from her essay in the book Labyrinth of Desire: Work by Frank Rodick.

Click here to read Frank Rodick's essay on the series Arena, which consists of 26 works, including single images, diptychs, triptychs, and polyptychs.

 
 

 


sub rosa 

1995-1997 (selected works)

 By the mid 1990s I was still doing Liquid City but also looking at how I might work with that most traditional and well-documented  of subjects: the nude figure. As usual, what I was looking for only began coming into focus once I got going making the images. And what seemed to be recurring were qualities that created a tension with the sensuality of form—qualities revolving around an uncertain opaqueness, an acute evasiveness, matters that had planted themselves firmly in my emotional life at the time. What helped me along was discovering—initially through some lovely Polaroid accidents and later by more conscious refinement—a set of techniques that could both obfuscate and meld the formal elements of the picture. Rather than irradiating the subject, these interventions shaped the image into something darkly evanescent—a dreamlike aura that mirrored the sense of life, including erotic life, that I would find myself slipping in and out of.... Eventually I'd print thirteen pictures, which became sub rosa

— Frank Rodick, 2017

sub rosa  a. & adv.  (Of communication, consultation, etc.)  In confidence, under express or implied pledge of secrecy.
[L, lit. under the rose, as emblem of secrecy]  

 
 

 


Liquid City

1991-1999 (selected works)

Photographer of the invisible, Frank Rodick traveled Tokyo, Paris, London, New York, digging deep to find the common denominator of all cities....

— Alex Bocchetto, co-founder of AkinaBooks, about the 40 images of Liquid City from his interview with Frank Rodick. 


Lou Reed sang, The city is a funny place / Something like a circus and a sewer. Circuses and sewers sounded like places good enough as any to get lost in, to lose myself in, and that was a big part of what I was trying to do those days, most days.

— Frank Rodick, from his essay on Liquid City.