Contemporary Art

Terry Rodgers

United States 1947

Figurative Art

Terry Rodgers
Terry Rodgers
United States
December 16, 2013
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Considered as one of the world’s most famous representatives of representational painting, Terry Rodgers made a name for himself by depicting what seems to be perfect. At first, the viewers are confused, as the paintings look like they are a part of some advertising campaign. They become trapped in this world and slowly begin to define themselves through media images they are exposed to on a daily basis. Strongly interested in film and photography, these two fields nudged the artist’s style in the direction of representational realism.

Terry Rodgers new video news design works paintings search torch books home contemporary painting
Terry Rodgers – The Darkness of Illumination, 2013

The Art of Terry Rodgers

Born in Newark, NJ, Terry Rodgers grew up in Washington, D.C. He studied Fine Art at the Amherst College in Massachusetts, where he graduated cum laude in 1969. Inspired by the American writers David Foster Wallace and Thomas Pynchon, musicians Bob Dylan, Jimmy Hendricks and The Rolling Stones, and influenced by David Salle, Max Beckman, Diego Velászquez, Otto Dix, but also Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec, Rodgers chose the oil paint as his favorite medium. It was a logical choice since it possesses greater viscosity and definition than everything but the film, but then, a film requires significant funding and a crew. Considering creativity to be the same as invention, he focuses on perception, making his surrounding the subjects of his paintings.[1] The seductive power of his work is unquestionable, as both man and women are depicted glamorous, their hair being perfect, full lips, and teeth that are sparkling white. As if he’s trying to capture all those confusions to which we are all subjected, confronting the desires we all have with the realistic possibilities that are not that perfect.

His art is figurative

Terry Rodgers work oil painting contemporary design
Terry Rodgers – The Architecture of Light, 2015

An Entire World in Paintings

However, as perfect as this world may seem, Terry Rodgers is fully aware there is no such thing as perfection. With no intention of criticizing anything, he paints what he sees – fragile humans trying to connect with the others. The parties, one of his favorite subjects, often depicted, show just how much it can all be superficial. Every single painting takes a considerable amount of time, and Rodgers manages to finish about 12 to 13 paintings per year. For each of those, he photographs dozens of people in his studio. Sometimes models, sometimes ordinary people, and sometimes celebrities – he finds them everywhere. At restaurants, clubs, streets, airports. One thing is common for them all. Something in their appearance, a detail in their faces, their posture, intrigues the artist, and he invites them to his studio. Rodgers then draws them, slowly drafting the final picture in his imagination. His assistant paints a first, rather a rough color version of the piece in acrylic, before the artist himself begin applying layer upon layer of translucent oil in a process that can last for months. One of the most important parts of the whole process is the thought of the viewers. Since he thinks of them as a part of the concept, Rodgers paints pieces with peculiar, attention-attracting details, or the dimensions of a small cinema screen. These immediately pull the viewers into the semi-imaginary world and make them members in the chain of connections between the figures in the painting. His solo show entitled Solo Spaces at Torch Gallery in Amsterdam was on display from October 29, 2016 until December 31, 2016. It marked a self-reflective turn in the artist’s oeuvre. Rodgers’ new work expands on the feelings of detachment and desire explored in his earlier work while emphasizing a contemporary disconnect between body and mind.

The artist creates paintings by depicting what he sees

Terry Rodgers new video work contemporary painting design
Terry Rodgers – Bending The Cosmos, 2014

Angels and Boundaries of Desire

His first big and audacious show, in 2004 in Amsterdam, was called Angels of Desire. He then presented ten works of dramatic boldness and electrifying insight into the American and the entire Western culture simultaneously galvanized by terror and sated by technologically-driven ease. In 2009, the Scheringa Museum of Realist Art in Spanbroek organized the first European museum exhibition solely devoted to Terry Rodgers, titled Boundaries of Desire. With twenty large paintings and a number of sketches, the museum presented an overview of Rodgers’ unique oeuvre as it has developed over the last decades. The initial allure of his luxurious fictional world serves only to veil the artist’s true subject: the tension between desire and loneliness. The viewer sees a beauty that is as inviting as it is repugnant, in which the figures exude boredom, loneliness and a yearning for human contact.[2] His works is included in prestigious collections such as the Stedelijk Museum-Hertogenbosch, the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung in Munich, the Museum Franz Gertsch in Burgdorf, the Museum Folkwang in Essen, the Scheringa Museum of Realist Art in Spanbroek, the Kunsthal Rotterdam, the Kunsthalle Krems in Austria, Kunsthalle Emden in Germany, Kunstmuseum Bern and Zentrum Paul Klee, me Berlin, the Helnwein Museum Galerie Rudolfinum in Prague, and the Kunsthalle Rotterdam.

Terry Rodgers lives and works in Columbus, Ohio.


  1. Parentela C. Interview with Terry Rodgers, The eXTra FinGer [October 7,2016]
  2. Voyatzis C. Terry Rodgers – Boundaries of Desire, Yatzer [October 7,2016]

Feature image: Terry Rodgers – portrait
All images courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Solo SpacesTorch Gallery, Amsterdam, NetherlandsSolo
2016Art Miami with Torch Gallery, AmsterdamMiami, FloridaGroup
2016Art Aspen with Zener Schon Contemporary ArtAspen, ColoradoGroup
2016Art Southampton with Dean Project, MiamiBridgehampton, New YorkGroup
2016Divine DecadenceKasteel van Gaasbeek, Lennik/Brabant, BelgiumGroup
2016Summer DazeMikel Hunter, Edgartown, MassachusettesGroup
2016Lucca Art Fair with Davide Gallo Arte Contemporanea, MilanLucca, ItalyGroup
2016ForeverBubox Art Space, Kortrijk, BelgiumGroup
2016Degrees of SeparationKunstverein Heppenheim, Heppenheim, GermanySolo
2016Art Wynwood with Dean Project, MiamiMiami, USAGroup
2016LikenessAlbertz-Benda New York, New YorkGroup
2015Humble MeAeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2015Krachtwerken Gementemuseum Helmond, Helmond (NL)Group
2015DesireGalerie Le RoyerGroup
2014UntitledAeroplastics ContemporaryGroup
2013Approximations of the SublimeAeroplastics contemporary, Brussels, BelgiumSolo
2013Lieblingsbilder aus der Sammlung GrosshausLandesmuseem Schloss Gottorf, GermanyGroup
2012Post Tenebras Lux. Eine UebersichtsausstellungGalerie Nicola von Senger, Zürich, SwitzerlandGroup
2012Eros & ThanatosScheublein Fine Art, Zürich, SwitzerlandGroup
2011The Fluid Geometries of IllusionTorch gallery, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsSolo
2011Lust and Vice. The Seven Deadly Sins from Durer to Nauman Kunstmuseum Bern and Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, SwitzerlandGroup
2011Much Ado About EverythingHaus Fuer Kunst, Uri, SwitzerlandGroup
2010Radical ContinuityAeroplastics contemporary, Brussels, BelgiumSolo
2010SpellboundGalerie Nicola von Senger, ZürichSolo
2010Decadence now, visions of excessGalerie Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech RepublicGroup
2010Lust for Life & Dance of DeathOlbricht collection, Kunstalle Krems, Krems, AustriaGroup
2010Realism—The Adventure of RealityCourbet-Hopper-Gursky, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich, GermanyGroup
2010ME Collectors RoomOlbricht Collection, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2010The Alchemy of DelusionAeroplastics contemporary, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2009Boundaries of DesireScheringa Museum of Realist Art, Spanbroek, The NetherlandsSolo
2009Terry RodgersTORCH Gallery, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsSolo
2009The Unforgettable Fire—25 Years TORCH GalleryKunsthal Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The NetherlandsGroup
2009Art in the Front PageBenaki Museum, Athens, GreeceGroup
2009Untitledvon Liebig Art Center, Naples, Florida, USAGroup
2008Terry RodgersGalerie Nicola von Senger, Zurich, SwitzerlandSolo
2008Holland Without HurryScheringa Museum for Realism, Spanbroek, The NetherlandsGroup
2008UntitledCokkie Snoei Gallery, Rotterdam, The NetherlandsGroup
2007The Rhapsody of Eternal DreamsGalerie Nicola von Senger, Zurich, SwitzerlandSolo
2007Rockers Island Olbricht Collection, Museum Folkwang, Essen, GermanyGroup
2007Something to Write Home AboutStadsgalerij Heerlen, Heerlen, The NetherlandsGroup
2007Leve de Schilderkunst! Terug naar de figuur, Kunsthal Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The NetherlandsGroup
2007Zuruch Zur Figur, Malerei der GengenwartMuseum Franz Gertsch, Burgdorf, SwitzerlandGroup
2007Creme de la CrèmeGemeentemuseum Helmond, Helmond, The NetherlandsGroup
2006Terry Rodgers. The Apotheosis of PleasureTORCH Gallery, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsSolo
2006Creative Imaginings: The Howard A. and Judith Tullman Collection Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, Alabama, USAGroup
2006Sweet EcstasyGalerie Nicola von Senger, Zurich, SwitzerlandGroup
2006Zuruch Zur FigurMalerei der Gengenwart, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich, GermanyGroup
2006Do the Right BlingStedelijk Museum-Hertogenbosch, Hertogenbosch, The NetherlandsGroup
2006UntitledElga Wimmer Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2006UntitledFay Gold Gallery, Atlanta, USAGroup
2005Terry RodgersMarella Gallery, Milan, ItalySolo
2005American RhapsodyFay Gold Gallery, Atlanta (GA), USASolo
2005Agua sin ti no soy (Water without you I’m not)3rd Bienal de Valencia, Valencia, ItalyGroup
2005After NatureAeroplastics contemporary, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2005UntitledMB Fine Art, Los Angeles, USAGroup
2004Terry RodgersTORCH Gallery, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsSolo
2003Terry RodgersMarella Arte Contemporanea, Milan, ItalySolo
2003Private Encounters: The Paintings of Terry RodgersBakersfield Museum of Art, Bakersfield (CA), USASolo
2003Skin: Contemporary Views of the Body Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art, Jacksonville (FL), USAGroup
2003SuperRealMarella Arte Contemporanea, Milan, ItalyGroup
2003UntitledFay Gold Gallery, Atlanta, USAGroup
2002Terry RodgersThomas McCormick Gallery, Chicago (IL), USASolo
2002Terry Rodgersdfn gallery, New York (NY), USASolo
2002Terry RodgersLouis Stern Fine Arts, Los Angeles (CA), USASolo
2002Paintings by Terry RodgersNorthern Michigan University Art Museum, Marquette (MI), USASolo
2002UntitledDunedin Fine Art Center, Dunedin (FL), USAGroup
2002UntitledFay Gold Gallery, Atlanta (GA), USAGroup
2001Terry RodgersFay Gold Gallery, Atlanta (GA), USASolo
2001UntitledKeny Galleries, Columbus (OH), USAGroup
2001UntitledCenter for the Cultural Arts, Gadsden (Al), USAGroup
2001Humanscapes by Terry Rodgers Ellen Noel Art Museum, Odessa (TX), USAGroup
2001UntitledLouis Stern Fine Art, Los Angeles (CA), USAGroup
2000Recent Paintings by Terry RodgersErie Art Museum, Erie (PA), USASolo
2000Terry RodgersParkersburg Art Center, Parkersburg (WV), USASolo
2000Terry RodgersMidwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart (IN), USASolo
2000UntitledFay Gold Gallery, Atlanta (GA), USAGroup
1999The Paintings of Terry RodgersPorter Butts Gallery, University of Wisconsin, Madison, (WI), USASolo
1999The Good Life, Burroughs Chapin Art Museum, Myrtle Beach (SC), USASolo
1999Terry RodgersKeny Gallery, Columbus (OH), USASolo
1999National Midyear Exhibition Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown (OH), USAGroup
1998Terry RodgersFurlong Gallery, University of Wisconsin, Stout (WI), USASolo
1998National Midyear Exhibition Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown (OH), USAGroup
1997National Midyear ExhibitionButler Institute of American Art, Youngstown (OH), USAGroup
1994Terry RodgersHammond Gallery, Lancaster (OH), USASolo
1994National Midyear ExhibitionButler Institute of American Art, Youngstown (OH), USAGroup
1993Terry RodgersNicolae Galleries, Columbus (OH), USASolo
1993German Village Exhibition, Columbus (OH) USA Hammond Gallery, Lancaster (OH), USAGroup
1992Struve Gallery, ChicagoUSA Katz & Dawgs Gallery, Columbus (OH), USAGroup
1989Terry RodgersPartners Gallery, Bethesda (MD), USASolo
1989UntitledNeikrug Photography, New York (NY), USAGroup
1988UntitledKatz & Dawgs Gallery, Columbus (OH), USAGroup
1987UntitledPartners Gallery, Bethesda (MD), USA 1985 The Brandeis Exhibition, Rockville (MD), USAGroup
1984Brandeis ExhibitionRockville (MD), USAGroup
1984UntitledArlington Arts Center Exhibition, Arlington (VA), USAGroup
1983The Brandeis ExhibitionRockville (MD), USAGroup
1979UntitledMead Arts Gallery, Amherst College, Amherst (MA), USAGroup
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