George Rodrigue (b. 1944) was born and raised in New Iberia, Louisiana, the heart of Cajun country. For more than forty years, his work has remained rooted in the familiar milieu of home.
Rodridgue’s work was influenced by the Pop and Abstract images he viewed during art school at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. However, his most important influence and choice of subject matter is the cultural iconography of Louisiana. He would use its symbols not only to capture the essence of his personal world, but also to express his spiritual and cultural ideas as they pertained to Louisiana, to the South, and to America. Using the oak tree as his main subject in hundreds of paintings in the early 1970’s, Rodrigue eventually expanded his subjects to include the Cajun people and traditions, as well as his interpretations of myths such as Jolie Blonde and Evangeline.
It was one of these myths, the loup-garou, which inspired Rodrigue’s most famous series, the Blue Dog. Painted for a book of Cajun ghost stories (Bayou, Inkwell, 1984), this werewolf-typedog was an already familiar legend for Rodrigue, who heard the story often as a boy. The artist used images of his studio dog, Tiffany to inspire the form and shape of the Blue Dog. He explored his earlier Pop and Abstract interests in a more obvious way, breaking his canvas into strong shapes just as he always had with oak trees and Cajuns, with the addition of bold blocks of color and a new signature-type style shape in the mix. Gradually the dog became bluer and the paintings more abstract, yet the canvaases remained rooted in Rodrigue’s Louisiana heritage and traditional training.
In 2000, Rodrigue broke from his previous works with his prophetic series, Hurricanes. He created swirling abstracts of Louisiana storms with hints of yellow eyes and oak trees mixed with the intense whirl of color and brush strokes. Recently, he has premiered Bodies, a computer remastered return to classical nudes, cemeteries, and oak trees.
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Presently Assistant Director for Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans, Bradley Sabin received his BFA…
1994 MFA, Painting and Sculpture, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 1991 BA, Painting, University of…