Above all, Sebastião Rodrigues is a painter. A Brazilian painter by vocation and talent who, like so many other brave home artists, has been successful out of persistency and, mainly, a lot of work, for without it, there is no talent to be seen. Mostly for someone who has come from afar — in his case, from Amazônia —, overcoming cultural and custom barriers to establish himself in a more developed center, like Rio de Janeiro, where he refined his knowledge through studies and observations which, later, would embody his work in a personal way.

Sebastião Rodrigues still dares to believe in painting, that is, he dedicates himself to shapes and colors with extreme boldness, the most traditional way, while, nowadays, all attention from the critics turns almost exclusively to experiments, from installations to concepts. It does not mean that he is not a contemporary artist. Of course he is, like any other working at our time. Unfortunately, it seems that the artists of the so-called "vanguard", and also some critics, do not think so, and prefer to exclude him from contemporaneity.

Gross mistake. Art is art and not only what some few people believe art should be, paraphrasing, by the way, the so praised anti-art by Marcel Duchamp, from the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Art is magic creation and Sebastião Rodrigues responds to it with the nobility of his painting, which excel various languages, from figurative to abstract, aiming to treasure the plastic vocabulary itself. Creating is expanding intimate worlds into shapes and colors. It means knowing how to draw as a starting point for everything, as Mário de Andrade duly emphasized in one of the most important chapters in the book Aspectos das Artes Plásticas do Brasil (Aspects of Plastic Arts in Brazil).

We mentioned the drawing in the work of Sebastião Rodrigues exactly to highlight his impetus towards pictorial creation, unlike other artists, also painters, who lately have been giving little importance to this graphic aspect. Nevertheless, all the paintings by the Amazonian painter stem from the drawing. Nothing could be more correctly in aesthetic terms.

And what does the painting by Sebastião Rodrigues tell us? About man, mainly. Man in his essence as a Being, though fragmented within modern world. Not in a bidimensional format as we are used to in painting, for he uses appropriately many others languages that enrich his intention not only in technical terms. Mr. Rodrigues is bold in his urge to expand from the canvas in unusual shapes, such as unconventional frames, and integrate spaces and even the cuttings through the frame into his work. In fact, he is a painter of great dimensions, a passionate gesturalist who extends long brush strokes on the canvas surface, putting together relief and linearity magnificently in the same work, the same way he puts together different plastic languages, making them almost indistinguishable before our eyes.

Since 1978, Sebastião Rodrigues has been exhibiting his artwork individually, having already participated in major art exhibits and collective exhibits, won prizes and great reviews, and now, like all talented and intelligent artists, he exposes his work to the appreciation of the public.

It is impossible not to surrender to what he so bravely offers us.

GERALDO EDSON DE ANDRADE
Art Critic Brazilian Association // November 2002

 

ABSTRACTIONS BY SEBASTIÃO RODRIGUES

.. It is an elaborate work, not only due to the painter’s determination, but also to the variety of visual resources. Strokes, lines, stains, gestures, figures, they are all on his canvas at the service of a strong, vigorous and, above all, expressive technique, which seems to be willing to break the limits imposed by the frame.

Sebastião Rodrigues many times trespasses the traditional shape of the canvas to establish a new dimension to his artwork. He enjoys establishing parallels between frame shape and picture, however without neglecting the graphic elements of his work.

His paintings have always been acclaimed for their rhythm, for the ecstasy one experiences in face of them, for the honesty of his proposal. It certainly is the work of a young artist with a background and language of his own.

Geraldo Edson de Andrade
Art Reviewer // June, 1995