Daniel Rios Rodriguez is featured in the New York Times Art Reviews for his exhibition at Nicelle Beauchene.
Through March 1. Nicelle Beauchene, 327 Broome Street, Manhattan; 212-375-8043, nicellebeauchene.com.
Spirals are everywhere in Daniel Rios Rodriguez’s paintings in “Semper Virens” at Nicelle Beauchene. They’re a motif that reflects the exhibition’s Latin title — “evergreen” or “always flourishing” — but also feels in keeping with the moment as spirals are overtaking modernist grids in popularity.
“Angelitos Negros” (2019-20) has a spiral laid out with a rope at its center, while “Agua” (2019-20) has small stone rectangles shaped into a snakelike spiral and “Early Life” (2020) suggests a nautilus structure. Other works here include abstracted suns or moons and relate to life cycles and natural and cosmic regeneration.
Mr. Rodriguez’s paintings, which are more like chunky constructions with idiosyncratic homemade frames, include many found objects he collected while walking in the river valley near his home in San Antonio, Texas. There is a distinct folk-art feel to the show. Some works even conjure the vapid, cheery paintings you’d find in hotel rooms or at a local cafe. The precision and structure of these works — as well as nods to artists like Marsden Hartley — are a giveaway, however: Mr. Rodriguez has an M.F.A. in painting from Yale. In other words, this is folk art threaded through the needle of studied composition and artistry rather than curios fashioned by a self-taught savant. What we’re seeing is Mr. Rodriguez discarding the rules of Western art history, pushing “high” painting toward craft and coaxing us to follow. MARTHA SCHWENDENER
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