Tino Rodriguez (American (born Mexico), 1965)
Xochipilli's Ecstatic Universe, 2004
Oil on panel 20 in. x 16 in. (50.8 cm x 40.64 cm)
Crocker Art Museum Purchase with contributions from Barbara and William Hyland, Monterey, California, and the George and Bea Gibson Fund2006.44
A 1995 graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, Tino Rodriguez draws upon the literature and mythology of diverse cultures in creating his lush, hypnotic imagery. He aims to inspire us with visual beauty and also to free us to accept the beauty of difference. In much of his art, Rodriguez explores themes of metamorphosis and transformation.
In Aztec mythology, Xochipilli is the Prince of Flowers and the god of beauty, song, and dance. The artist includes a selfportrait in the guise of this ecstatic deity, but he also appears as a dual creature, at once male and female, a presentation in which Rodriguez offers homage to the legendary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The swan, humming birds, butterflies, Egyptian sphinx, and infant Buddha recapitulate the artist’s theme of transformation in exquisite vignettes throughout the composition. The otherworldly garden that these small icons inhabit is intended as sanctuary for the soul. Rodriguez introduces us to a world rich in pleasure that not only touches our senses but alters our perceptions.