When last we heard from Rodney Wood — via 2010's Symbiosis show at Rubbish and Modbo galleries — he was living in Ruidoso, N.M. That, after a few years in Santa Fe, where he moved after a long stretch as an artistic leader in Colorado Springs.
Wood believes he's moved 48 times in his adult life.
He's only 61.
And yet if you're looking for the inspiration behind Galerie Vivant, which will unfold in Colorado Springs this weekend, much of it came from dropping into a whole set of places Wood had never seen before.
For 115 days in 2010, Wood and his longtime partner, Susan Palmer, set out to find unknown artists. They were looking for people who worked away at their pieces with no thought of money or sales, people simply compelled to create.
The pair also sought out-of-the way museums, and stopped at any quirky place en route. For instance, a ventriloquist museum in Kentucky.
"A lot of the new pieces were inspired by that trip — stuff we saw, people we met," Wood says.
It was in one of these museums where Wood learned of a concept called tableau vivant, an event held in the 1800s that went beyond just discussing art. It struck a chord: After attending an art opening in which an opera singer was performing to accompany each work, he had wanted a new way of unveiling his shows.
Inspired, he developed Galerie Vivant. The performances at Millibo Art Theater will include music, belly dancing and other art forms revealing the paintings' roots.
One of those performing will be Lauren Andrus, pianist and co-owner of the Modbo and S.P.Q.R., where Wood's art will hang starting June 8. She's excited about this unique opportunity to collaborate with other arts organizations and for Wood's fans to experience his art this way. She knows it's popular because as of last week, half the tickets had already sold.
"People always ask Rodney what his inspiration is," she says, "and this is his very inventive answer to that question."
His paintings will reflect a change from the pieces in Symbiosis, which featured sometimes-dark works that he considered efforts in "symbolic realism." And they're certainly a far cry from the sculptures and photography he displayed — when not serving as mentor, gallery owner or Business of Art Center director — in the local arts community before leaving the Springs in 2006.
As for the place he lays his head now? Actually, Wood says he's found the perfect spot, in Trinidad. The city offers a diverse population and a sense of community, and his Main Street building includes everything he needs: a living space, a painting studio, a gallery. Though he's been there less than a year, Wood says he feels at home.