Monet came back to his haystacks, Picasso to his many women, and Warhol to his Jackie Kennedys. So why shouldn’t Rod Massey find regular inspiration in south Minneapolis?
He explains his fixation: “I have been asked, many times, if I don't get tired of painting the same neighborhoods, streets and houses. The answer is no.” With rich ripples of paint, precisely chosen contrasts of color, and the hint of an unlikely angle, he shapes the familiar into something clearly his, an insight captured on canvas.
The paintings might show a humble alley, or a line of school buses. They might depict “Behind Dunn Bros.,” likely the last place we’d look for the subject of art. But Massey insists on greater-than-assumed variety in his catalogue, claiming, “My subject matter can also include commercial, industrial and rural scenes - sometimes even as far-flung a locale as St. Paul!”
For his loyalty to his home place, Massey has enjoyed a full and rewarding career. He always starts with a drawing or two, on the spot, then works up his own vision in the studio. “For me the changing of the seasons, the light, is a constant source of inspiration.”