Rondall Reynoso studied art and art history at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where he received his M.F.A. in painting and a Masters in art history. Currently, he is in the Ph.D. program in Art and Aesthetics in the Historical and Cultural Studies of Religion Department at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. His work looks at the relationship between 20th and 21st-century American art and religion with a focus on Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and Chicano Art and Religion. His work has been exhibited in over seventy solo and group exhibitions across North America. The venues have been as varied as commercial galleries from Manhattan to California, art centers, ecclesiastical spaces, museums, colleges and universities. Also, he has been profiled and his work reviewed across the nation in regional media, including journals, newspapers, television, and radio. Reynoso’s formal abstraction deals heavily with metaphors, both sociological and spiritual, including the exploration the boundaries between 2-D and 3-D as a metaphor for the relationship between the corporeal and the spiritual. In 2008, Reynoso was one of seven North American artists selected by the Nagel Institute to take part in a cross-cultural seminar in Indonesia from which an international traveling exhibition emerged. From 2007-2012, Reynoso lived in Louisiana where for four years he was the head of the art department at Louisiana College. He has also taught at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, William Jessup University, Graduate Theological Union, and most recently California College of the Arts.
Rondall currently lives in the North San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, Pamela, and their five children.
My most recent work explores the relationship between personal identity, community, providence, and navigates the boundaries between 2-D and 3-D as a metaphor for the relationship between the corporeal and the spiritual.
I often work with sociological and philosophical ideas. My art has dealt metaphorically with issues such as social grouping; the concepts of race, ethics, reason, and epistemology; and the relationship of free-will to providence. Through the years, I have sought to unify my metaphors into a language that more fully negotiates the complexities of being human. I fail. But in the attempt, I find greater insight into the human condition and more fully understand the complexities of the life I live.
Over the last few years, I have become increasingly interested in the relationship of the individual to the community. My early Societal Portraits shared this concern but looked more universally at societal groupings and the beauty and tensions that can be found within those groupings. My series Ecclesia, and the series’ it has influenced such as Collaborating with Providence and I Am What I Am, are more concerned with the complexity and imperfection of relationships. What becomes important in these works are the awkward and beautiful ways in which these compositions integrate and the mistakes that happen in the rendering of the lines which in turn engender compositional changes affecting the entire piece.
This beautiful and broken conception of human relationships bleeds into other series’ of work and interacts with various forms and concepts. The Collaborating with Providence series seeks to explore the relationships between community and providence. The I Am What I Am series looks, at times, at the relationship between the individual and the community. In my sculptural series Parables, I look at similar issues while trying to ground them in our corporeal existence.
All these issues are dear to me, and I believe of great worth. The metaphors feed my work and my thinking allowing me to move forward while maintaining intellectual and philosophical integrity in my work. But ultimately, I am a formalist. While the concept feeds my work what unites it are not only the foundational metaphors but the visual expression, the form. Ultimately, my work is unified by my use of line, my choice of color, and the textures which I employ.
My research focuses primarily on the relationship between religion and art in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I have researched, written on, and presented papers on the Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery as well as the broader cultural programming at BJU. The BJU collection is significant in the 20th century as a case study of the tensions among religion, art, and the broader culture that was, and continue to be, present in Fundamentalism and also more broadly within the evangelical world. My research was the first comprehensive study of the collection in 30 years and the first study that was not commissioned by the University. Presently, my scholarship focuses on the relationship between 20th and 21st-century art and religion with a particular interest in Christianity, Mormonism, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Chicano art. This has led to interdisciplinary work in art history, philosophy, religious studies, and theology. One of my primary interests currently is embodiment in contemporary religious art. This interest has resulted in the study of both evangelical and Mormon depictions of Christ and research into the aesthetics and theological tensions that exist within evangelicalism with depictions of the body. Edward Knippers has been one of the primary artists I have looked at in relation to this issue. But, the study is much broader and has received interest from within both the evangelical and non-evangelical communities. In fact, I presented part of my research at the Conference of Faith and History at Pepperdine University. The paper was entitled, “Artists, Art Historians, Nudity, and the Evangelical Audience.”