Arnaldo Roche: Brotherhood / Hermandad
Main Exhibition Gallery. November 9, 2008 to March 29, 2009
MOLAA presents a solo exhibition by the Puerto Rican artist, Arnaldo Roche, titled Arnaldo Roche: Brotherhood/Hermandad. Comprised of 19 large-scale works created between 2002 and 2007.
On November 9, 2008, MOLAA presents a solo exhibition by the Puerto Rican artist, Arnaldo Roche, titled Arnaldo Roche: Brotherhood/Hermandad. Comprised of 19 large-scale works created between 2002 and 2007, the traveling exhibition is organized by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, at the Chicago Cultural Center and is curated by Mr. Gregory Knight, Deputy Commissioner of Visual Arts, Department of Cultural Affairs, Chicago, Illinois.
Arnaldo Roche (b.1955) is recognized as the preeminent post-expressionist painter of Puerto Rico. Trained in the United States, Roche studied art at the School of Art Institute of Chicago during the 1980s where he quickly earned U.S. attention for his art. Further maturing his artistic career in Puerto Rico, Roche has received international acclaim and his art is included in major museum collections around the world.
Roche explores the complex issues of personal experiences and historic events. Many of his self portraits and figurative works veil and unveil the angst of his life as well as the individual to resolve the human condition. Roche states that “To begin, I propose my own history. Not to heal my pain, but to understand ‘painting as a mechanism’ that will cause me to float above my own shipwreck.”
Multiple series of works refer to his relationship with his elder brother, Felito, often in correlation to the life and art of the post-Impressionist painter, Vincent Van Gogh (Holland, 1853-1890). As the sixth and youngest son in a family whose father was a policeman, Roche lost two siblings to a gun related incident. When Roche was 14 years old, his eldest brother accidentally killed one of Roche’s sisters with his father’s police gun. The traumatic event subsequently led to the deterioration of Felito’s mental health and his own death. Based on these two tragic deaths, Roche has established a complex iconography of densely layered portraits, interiors and exteriors, filled with various figures that refer to interchangeable identities; Roche relates his relationship with his brother to the sibling relationship of Van Gogh and his brother, Theo. And although Roche’s artistic identity is aligned with Van Gogh as an artist, he associates Felito’s schizophrenic behavior with the Dutch painter’s illness and eventual suicide. By depicting these episodes of personal pain within universal narratives, he seeks resignation and recovery.
Roche is also recognized for his innovative painting techniques, creating almost ritual-like performances in the production of his art. By applying the method of rubbing and wrapping the canvas on and around the human body and various objects—both natural objects such as palm leaves and man-made objects such as chairs, etc.—he transfers the tactical experience of life to painting. Drawing upon the Surrealists use of frottage (rubbing) and the Impressionists use of intense color vibration, Roche describes his process as “ritualistic human interactions” with the intention to discover himself and his world through the use of art as a cathartic process of healing.
Roche’s art is a journey into his own psyche, a spiritual search in which the viewer encounters layers of symbolic meaning that range from the deeply personal to the universal.
The exhibition remains on view in the Main Exhibition Gallery from November 9, 2008 to March 29, 2009. A full color illustrated catalog accompanies the exhibition with an essay by art historian and scholar, Robert Hobbs. The artist and curator will be present at the Member’s Opening Reception on Saturday, November 8, 2008.
Member’s Opening Reception on Saturday, November 8, 2008.