(pictured below, a wall of Rodrigue festival posters in the artist’s home, Lafayette, Louisiana, circa 1985; also, Rodrigue Studio today, New Orleans-)
-for a related post, see "Blue Fall in Louisiana," linked here-
By Wendy Rodrigue, Wife of Artist George Rodrigue
“The artist is involved with art as a way of life.”*
“I see no need for a community,” stated artist David Hare (1917-1992). “An artist is always lonely. The artist is a man who functions beyond or ahead of his society.”
“I don’t understand, in a painting,” noted Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967), “the love of anything except the love of painting itself.”
“My favorite painting is always the one I’m working on now.”
“That’s why you have to study ten to fifteen paintings together,” interjected George, as though he sat in on this session. “If one stands off from the others, then you’ve overworked it, and it’s too much.
“The group is more important than the single canvas, especially when it comes to learning how to stop. Looking at the group is the only way to see what you’re doing.”
“If you try to paint to please a public or a critic,” says George, “you’ll never create anything lasting, anything new, or anything purely your own.”
“One shape in relation to other shapes makes the ‘expression;’ not one shape or another, but the relations between the two makes the ‘meaning’.” –Hans Hofmann (1880-1966)
“I can tell by their questions that these are all artists from the 50s,” continued George about the Studio 35 sessions. “As time went by, the questions answered themselves, because the progression of art – not the artists themselves – dictates the direction.”
“This exhibition gives viewers a taste of the original art that inspired Wendy to write her book," explains George Rodrigue. “This includes not only my early art, but also paintings from her mother and interesting photographs, such as the King Tut line at the New Orleans Museum of Art from 1977.
"Both Wendy and I congratulate Marney Robinson for her selection and her eye for installation. We could not be more pleased with the finished exhibition.”
“Marney is rockin’ it!”
“It makes for a very diverse exhibit,” explains Rodrigue, “and it provides the viewer with a better understanding of how this book formed around not only my art, but also mine and Wendy’s art-filled life together.”
On October 26, 2013, George Rodrigue receives in New Orleans the prestigious Opus Award from the Ogden Museum of Southern Art during their annual gala, O What a Night!. Unable to attend the event, we asked Jacques Rodrigue, his fiancé Mallory Page Chastant, and André Rodrigue to accept the award on George's behalf, and to speak for us. Below is the speech in its entirety.
“Every great artist has taken a common thing and made people see it in a different way.”
“The closer you are to who you really are, is the best thing; yet most people can’t get past 5 p.m.”
“They can’t see!”
“The Blue Dog.”
“I’ll never see it, Wendy…
….but you will.”
“At this time, artists should try to produce something from themselves, or from their area --- that’s where art is headed today. All America really has left in art is what one feels.”
“I hate the right thing to do...”
“You’re not alone in this...”
“You have to celebrate your book...”
“You have a beautiful smile...”
“But you’re twenty-five! Who’s going to want you now?”
“Call him! Beg him! Make him take you back!”
“General Dronet of Erath brought me a photograph some thirty-five years ago of his grandmother and great-grandmother,” recalls Rodrigue. “He asked me to consider a painting of this important slice of Acadian history. I saw immediately that this was an iconic image, and I reinterpreted it in my Cajun style.”
"...sold her unique textiles from her home to help support her family. From her dedication to the precious cultural craft, Col. Dronet acquired an early appreciation of his ancestral roots.”
“While her mother, Anaise, would ‘card’ the cotton, Therese would spin the yarn on the spinning wheel, as had been done by the Acadians for two centuries.
“She produced an extensive and handsome collection, including bedspreads ‘courte pointe,’ rugs, blankets, quilts and handbags. Her pride and personal preference, however, was the ‘courte pointe’ (bedspread) expemplified by the ‘cross and diamond’ in a cordonne, boutonne work-syle.
“In 1929, a ‘courte pointe’ woven by Madame J.B. Dronet was included in a gift of Acadian textiles presented to the nation’s First Lady, Mrs. Herbert Hoover.”
“Goose quill toothpicks, Wendy, that’s what I need!” declared a wise friend recently, her eyes sparkling like a young girl's.
“Look up ‘apothecary’ on your iPhone.”
“And while you’re at it,” she continued, “find me an old-fashioned doctor.... one with real experience!”