contributions by David Anfam and Terrie Sultan
foreword by Louis K. Meisel
The Artist Book Foundation, 2022
eISBN: 978-1-7329864-8-0 | Cloth: 978-1-7329864-4-2
Library of Congress Classification ND237.P356R66 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 758.173

The abandoned and forgotten landscapes of rural southwestern towns are the favored subjects of Rod Penner’s paintings. His deft use of contrasts in his
images—despondency and hope, isolation and nostalgia—evokes memories of The Last Picture Show and elicits complex responses from viewers. “I’m interested in the look of things and the quality of being there,” he says. “A moment that is completely frozen with all the variety of textures; rust on poles, crumbling asphalt, light hitting the grass.”
Penner’s works are based on his photographs, digital video stills, and his experience of the rural landscapes of Texas and New Mexico. He depicts desolate, often deserted locations, the character of old houses and abandoned buildings, weather, and unique geography. His chosen scenes are infused with a cinematic quality that is the result of the exquisite light that he captures with his meticulous process. “The finished paintings should evoke contrasting responses of melancholy and warmth, desolation and serenity,” he says.
Penner’s hyperrealistic technique meticulously records both the iconic imagery and the beauty in the ashes of these once-prosperous streets and neighborhoods that still endure. The incredibly poignant scenes evoke a universalism, a collective experience seen through the lens of Americana. “You won’t find any hidden or overt socio-political meaning in my work and at the same time I hope that by utilizing what I find in the American landscape I’m able to connect to viewers on a deeper psychological level.”

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