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Clone Zone 

The inner landscapes of Rodger Roundy, including Beeotch

Wednesday, Jan 26 2005
Rodger Roundy's paintings remind me of a celebrated San Francisco sexual oddball. Mike the PieMan followed up a grade school incident in which a group of girls cruelly smashed pastries into his face by developing a yen for being hit with pies, transmuting trauma into his life's passion. If Roundy's life has followed a similar path, somewhere there's a ruthless young woman to whom the artist owes a debt of thanks for her inspiration.

Just as Andrew Wyeth never seemed to get tired of painting his Helga, Roundy appears obsessed with depicting one haughty-looking subject. Whether Roundy is rendering his inner landscapes in brilliant primary colors or the sepia tones that make up many of the works in the new exhibit "Rodger Roundy: Works on Paper," his figures are generally engaged in frenetic, often surreal action: Miniskirted mod chicks resort to fisticuffs on a playing field, a group of schoolgirls strain to lift a horse into the air, equestriennes guide their mounts through a waist-high drift of white paper. But the truly weird thing is that in the majority of his works there's only one subject, painted over and over again in an army of creepy clones. The gaggle of gals pictured catfighting in Beeotch are distinguished by their differing builds (tall, petite, slim, chubby), but all share the same face, hairstyle, and black-and-yellow outfit. Likewise, the scene envisioned in Highboy might resemble a strange sorority house rec room, with ladies lounging together on a couch and playing guitar, save for the fact that this sorority apparently admits only exact look-alikes.

Is Roundy making a point about the futility of sticking out from the crowd? The comfort of sticking with others like yourself? The predictable sameness shared even by those who regard themselves as individuals? His peculiar, impenetrable paintings make it tough to tell -- but trying to figure it out will keep you looking for a long, long time.

About The Author

Joyce Slaton


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