Everybody can make pictures,’ Philip Guston said in 1966. "In our kind of democracy this is going to proliferate like mad. In the next ten years there will be even much more than there is now… Everybody will be making pictures".
Guston’s prediction can be read as a fitting epigraph for 21st century life. Images are everywhere; we are beset the minute we open our eyes in the morning. From the accidental imagery of the everyday to the more composed images we see on billboards, in newspapers, and in books, pictures usually zoom past us, forgotten as soon as they’re glimpsed.
Sometimes, however, an image lodges itself in the mind and refuses to be forgotten. In his latest series, which takes its title from one of Guston’s lectures, Raul Rodriguez is both creator and editor, sifting through the stream for something valuable, reworking and reinventing the images that have impressed themselves upon him. Why Clutter Up the World with Pictures? is about attempts to not only capture these images, but to transform them into something completely different, and yet uncannily familiar.
The series began as an exploration of the natural lines found in plant life, which Rodriguez noticed and tried to map out during a short stint in Baguio. It has evolved to include images from just about everywhere else ? ‘tabloid front-pages, faded photos, pocketbook covers, doodles by other artists, comics, Xerox copies of avant-garde works, textile patterns’. Rodriguez is a collector, treating images like found objects and later reimagining them in vivid pastel collages. The three hundred resulting prints, all done in oil pastel, come together to create a sort of ‘visual diary’, a chronicle not only of what the artist has seen, but what he has remembered, internalized, and transformed.
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