After studying at NY's School of Visual Arts under art mentors Gilbert L. Stone and Jonathan Borofsky, Ritchard Rodriguez ventured off to Aspen Colorado where he was invited to exhibit for the very first time (at its Jerome Gallery). He returned to New York for a few years, only to find himself, at the encouragement of Gilbert Stone, relocating to West Berlin and two years later to Hamburg, two important cities in Germany. Still a realist he was fascinated by artists such as Otto Dix of the Neue Sachlichkeit movement and how it had evolved within contemporary Germany, somewhat bewildered by the Neue Wilde and other schools of new expressionism around him. Having been associated with the art dealer of Oscar winning Swiss artist Hans Giger, Rodriguez landed himself his own art dealers, that of Michel Ozenne in Paris and Jan de Maere in Brussels, who aside from granting him a solo show in Paris' first arrondissement would also include him in the FIAC at the Grand Palais and the Auction House Elkaim, L’Isle-Adam. Eventually, after four well-spent years in Germany, Rodriguez would find himself working within the French capital including six months in Conflans-Ste-Honorine for the next four years.
An interesting incident resulted from Rodriguez briefly meeting Lisa de Kooning, the daughter of the master Abstract Expressionist back in 1979. Although not yet familiar with her father’s work while still being a devoted realist, the encounter sufficed in making the young artist aware of the latter’s existence. “While living in West Berlin I attended a sensational retrospect of de Kooning’s work that included a video of the man working, to and from his canvas, tube of paint in one hand and a wall scraper in the other, indicating to me that with oils, a determined artist could just about create anything. As a result I broke away from my past and dove into what has followed without regrets, admitting I was wasting more energy preventing my painting skills from moving forward.” In some respects Kline, Krasner and the late works of Joan Mitchell did even more for Rodriguez as he braved this new journey. “I may not be an Abstract Expressionist per say today, but how my work has evolved would not have done so had it not been for these masters.”
During the years spent in France the paint took over as Rodriguez discovered freedom within his own abstraction, substituting figures with strokes or combinations of strokes, exploring the linen he faced with a preferable honesty, "painting from the heart and guts". He made New York his home and work place once again, though likewise taking his art materials to tropical Brazil for many winters to come. The work segued as a result from an industrial edge that included collage and photography along with his oils, to that of pure abstractions, color and light.
Rodriguez continues to exhibit nationally and internationally, even enjoying the success of being "presented among 10 other artists who participated in Princess Stephanie of Monaco's annual auction to raise funds for her charity, Fight AIDS Monaco. He had been selected along with 3 other international artists, and his two paintings were bought by a Monegasque art collector on 1st December 2007 at the auction in Monte Carlo in the presence of the Princess and her brother, Prince Albert II. Ritchard has a very particular and unique approach toward the canvas while painting. Each of his work is an emotional story that belongs to his heart and echoes ours."
— Marie-Laetitia Lesaffre (curator).
“When I entered NY's High School of Art & Design I was sure to be a comic-book artist upon graduation. By the time of my final term there (40 years ago today), I bought a box of oil paints that changed my life for good, taking a sharp turn towards fine arts, Surrealism, Old Masters, the Dutch, the German Expressionists and Neue Sachlichkeit, the Abstract Expressionists, etc., culminating with my very own abstraction. As I commemorate forty years of painting in 2014, I cannot over- emphasize how beautiful the journey has been.”