ROD has a new exhibition of ‘escapist’ paintings that began as a reaction to his life in lockdown.
The brightly coloured work explores mythology, symbolism and delves into memory, with animals and half-human creatures taking centre stage.
Rod, who is artist-in-residence in a former shop at the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre in Rotherhithe, south-east London, which is also his gallery where he works with the public and often paints their portraits, opens his latest show, Blue Lotus, from October 28 to November 7.
“During lockdown I couldn’t go into my studio or invite people over to my apartment to paint their portraits, so I started having fun painting over old life drawings, and it developed into something more solid over time,” he said.
The exhibition is made up of 30 paintings, some of them larger than 1m in size. The non-realistic style in ink and oil paint marks a departure from Kitson’s representational painting to a more imaginative approach.
Blue Lotus // Oct 28-Nov 7 // London
‘A very direct way of making art’
“I was thinking about the countryside, the sea, all of the places I couldn’t be,” Rod says.
“And I became interested in mythology and symbolism, getting inspired by imagery from books and TV and working from memory.
“It was a very direct way of making art. The ink seemed to create the characters on its own, with very little input from me.
“I was keen to use oil paints in their purest, brightest form. There is a lot of joy and vibrancy in these paintings. They take don’t themselves too seriously.
“The lotus is a very optimistic image, and I liked the symbolism of something beautiful coming out of the mire.”
Blue Lotus runs from October 28 to November 7. At: The Art of Isolation, 47 Upper Floor, Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, Redriff Road, London, SE16 7LL
Open 12-7pm Mon-Fri, 12-6pm Sat, 12-5pm Sun