Thursday, July 29, 1999
Rondo has exhibited before in Carmel and in Hawaii, but this is the first time that he will pack all 30 years of his art into his own one-man show. "Travels Inside and Out," opening this Friday in the Henry Gill Gallery at the Pacific Grove Art Center, coincides with the gallery''s own celebration of 30 years'' service to the community.
Much of the work in this exhibit was created in the past decade, and it illustrates the very wide range of Rondo''s artistic output, including examples of his work in black-and-white lino and mono, print work, woodcuts, acrylic and watercolor landscapes and seascapes and elemental abstract pieces.
Rondo himself is a ball of energy, and this is reflected in his art. His energy has taken him to Hawaii, Fiji, Moorea, Bora Bora, Tahiti, the Cook Islands, Java, Bali and Costa Rica. Many of the pieces displayed in this exhibit feature scenes from his world travels.
Rondo''s art is warm and alive. It embraces the viewer with vivid and luminous colors. Beautiful, eye-popping watercolors and acrylics capture the radiance and gentleness of faraway peoples and their lands. Rondo also appreciates local beauty, finding inspiration in the landscapes of Big Sur and hay bales of Carmel Valley. "I feel connected to the earth and humanity around me," says Rondo. "I praise the beauty and respect the fragility of the planet."
Some of Rondo''s flower paintings will remind viewers of Georgia O''Keefe, although they are stronger in color, with a less delicate quality. Rondo''s floralscapes jump right at you. They have a deep, shimmering quality to them. Rondo''s images of island life and people harken back to the work of French painter Paul Gauguin.
Rondo says he loves the works of French Impressionists Pissaro, Renoir, and Degas. He himself is an Impressionist, but he also works in non-objective, surrealist and abstract styles. The colorful, non-objective and abstract creations in this exhibit come from his early childhood.
"If I was uninterested in class I would put my head down on my desk," he says. "When I closed my eyes I would see strange shapes and colors." (Score one for the kid who doesn''t pay attention in class!) One of his creations inspired by his youthful experiences, "Campfire Abstract," is rich with strong dark reds, oranges, yellows and blues. The base element of fire is suggested by the use of these primary colors.
Since moving to Carmel in 1968, Rondo has studied art at several local colleges and the Monterey Museum of Art. But his most influential teacher, he says, was 19th-century French Impressionist Claude Monet. For several weeks in 1981, Rondo had colorful dreams of Monet painting with him and giving him instruction. Rondo says those dreams ended his black-and-white print work and set him on the path to color and light.
Rondo has a studio in the Pacific Grove Art Center, where he taught art for four years. He has also taught at the Lyceum in Monterey since 1978. Sitting in his small and fully art-packed studio, Rondo explains the double-edged sword of being an instructor in art and an artist.
"There''s a belief that those who can''t do, teach," he says. "This is totally ridiculous. Some of the greatest minds were teachers."
To keep himself motivated and inspired he plans to keep traveling. He also wants to exhibit his photography, which is as striking as his paintings. Music is another passion; his already overwhelmed studio contains an impressive collection of CDs, from Leonard Bernstein to Basia. "I would like to compose, when I get the time," says Rondo, "I would like to keep expanding and growing and evolving--getting stuff from the outside and keeping alive what is inside. I want to keep surfing on the waves of creativity."
He continues, laughing, "How Californian can one get! You would never hear that from an artist in New York."
Dante Rondo''s work is part of the 30th Anniversary Show at the Pacific Grove Art Center, 568 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 375-2208