Our next Artist You Need To Know is Lupe Rodriguez (1953-2008). Rodriguez was born in La Linea, Spain and relocated to Canada as a child. She earned an honours Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University (1977) and also studied art in Paris at L’École des Beaux-Arts and the Sorbonne.
In 2009, after her death, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto had a special exhibition entitled Radiant Passion as a tribute to her work and her life. The MOCCA notes to the exhibition (from here) say: As artist, educator, arts reporter, world traveller, cultural celebrity and serious aficionado of historical and contemporary art, Lupe Rodriguez shared her extraordinary passion and remarkable insights with thousands of people in Toronto, the GTA, across Canada and around the world. Her vivacious personality and love of art and life was infectious. Many of those who have known her have remarked that her exuberant and colourful artwork directly reflected the radiance and passion of her character.
From a wonderful epithet written by Javier Rodriguez, her brother, in the Globe and Mail: “Lupe and art were one and the same. Whether she was painting, researching, lecturing or sharing her inspirations, art encompassed her life. Her Spanish roots were reflected in the vibrant colours that radiated through her paintings.” Rodriguez’ works are striking, and immediately recognizable, with her almost Fauvist application of colour, and how her palette has an intensity that grabs the viewers’ eye and holds it. Her landscapes, in this respect, seem to be as much creations stitched together from memory and experience as well as her heritage. Several works become interpretations of the places she’s painted, less so than pedantic reproductions of them.There is a vibrant, joyful quality to her many scenes.
Rodriguez exhibited widely in private and public galleries in Canada, the United States, Mexico and Spain. Notable exhibitions include a major public installation in the Canadian embassy in Buenos Aires and many exhibitions of her artwork in Santa Fe, N.M., Dallas, Acapulco and Algeciras, Spain. Her international renown was balanced by a strong presence in Toronto: Rodriguez also became a well-known figure on the Toronto art scene and a familiar name to a wider audience who listened to her on the CBC Radio One show Here and Now, where she was the show’s “artist-at-large.”