For Rogelio Manzo, the practice of portraiture is more than a way to capture a likeness. His darkly compelling images of the human figure reflect a blend of cultural influences–as well as an underlying concern with the fragility of life. The artist, who moved from his native Mexico as a youngster, first settled near relatives in Reno, Nevada, then found his way to Sacramento, where he still makes his home. “I really liked it there… it actually reminded me of Guadalajara,” says Manzo. “It wasn’t too big, or too small. It was perfect.”
Returning to Mexico after completing high school in Nevada, Manzo studied architecture while simultaneously making an informal study of painting. But he found architecture “too strict.” In the following years, he brought his architectural and drafting skills to play–working in that field to earn a living–until eventually, he made the welcome discovery that full-time commitment to his passion for art was in fact a viable career choice.
Manzo’s brush with architecture inadvertently yielded his unusual choice of materials–resin panels designed for use as interior wall treatments. He first manipulates the panels, sanding and preparing them to accept transfer images as well as paint, and adding layers of silk and other fabric. He has experimented with a variety of materials, eventually hitting on a combination that allows a light-infused and reflective surface to mitigate the dark imagery.
While his early paintings were more in the realm of Magic Realism, he became fascinated with the human face. “It’s the first thing we see in the morning, of our loved one, of ourselves, everyone…” he says, adding “I went to portraiture because… I wanted to explore who we are, as the human race.” Manzo’s work is gaining recognition; after shows in Sacramento and San Francisco, and several art fairs, the artist will have work included in a show at Lancaster Museum of Art & History, “The Contemporary Figure: Past Presence,” as well as a solo show at Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco, both this fall.

Many of his works combine elegance and decay, “About a year ago I was getting ready for a show in Sacramento and I started painting models from magazines. They’re always so perfect, with the make-up, and the lighting… then you go outside and you don’t see them, you wonder where are all these people?” Renzo (2011), for example, portrays a brutally handsome man in a crisp striped dress shirt and dark jacket incised with a geometric grid. While his appearance might suggest the elegance and poise of an actor or fashion model, we are startled by distortions: a bent nose, too-full lips and bruise-like discolorations of skin. Where eyes might reveal personality, we find instead empty space where paint has been scraped off.
The artist freely admits his imagery skirts the macabre. While we might be shocked or disturbed by the work, the balance between horror and beauty seduces us in, like a spine-tingling movie giving us goose bumps that are somehow, ultimately pleasurable. Manzo also has a deeper message underlying the work, drawing attention to the death and injustice surrounding us in the world–things which many of us often prefer to ignore. In addition, his work reminds us of our shared mortality “we are here and we have so little time… when I’m painting a figure that is decaying… it’s to remind myself that life is such a brief moment.”

Manzo’s distorted and flayed subjects share a clear kinship with those portrayed by Francis Bacon, an artist whose work likewise explores dark corners of the soul. Rogelio states he finds inspiration in the work of artists from many cultures, but that his Mexican heritage has imbued in him a strong desire to create work that looks “hand-made. I’ve seen a lot of work out there that looks so perfectly done, so clean, it looks like a machine did it… but for me, I almost have to have my hand print.”
Manzo’s work is shown throughout USA, Mexico and Europe, at solo and group shows in comercial and non-profit galleries, museums and international art fairs, most notably in Dubai at DUCTAC, Lancaster Museum in Lancaster, Ca., Galerie C in Switzerland, Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco, Muriel Guepin Gallery in Brooklyn, Art Chicago, Art Miami, AAF New York, AAF London, artMRKT Hamptons and San Francisco and Art Toronto Canada.
Barbara Morris



My approach, is to be as pragmatic as I can be, which has allowed me to discover and merge different materials and techniques. I spent my childhood and younger years in Mexico, when I had the opportunity I used to go visit artisans to their shops, and in my younger years I traveled to some of Mexico’s major art crafts producers states like Jalisco, Michoacán, Oaxaca, and the central Mexican valley, there I visited several shops of recognized artisans, and was inspired by the richness of materials and variety of techniques, color and textures they fearlessly use, their passion to make their work look “hand made” has deeply influenced me on what an art piece should look like.
The process is relatively complex and it has taken me quite some time to be able to understand the materials I use. The pieces are done over resin substrate panels, aluminum and also on canvas. On the panel pieces, I use panel that allow me to layer oil paint, image transfers and laser prints or a combination of all, on both the front and the back surfaces to create depth and provide a place for light to play. I work my way through the panels by altering its finish. All this play with back and front of the panel is to try to distort the image and play with the viewer’s
visual experience. I sometimes, especially in larger pieces, have to cut into little squares the print to be able to handle the transferring process by hand. The face and body are mainly done with oil paint, but sometimes would combine materials here too. I slowly build up a visual effect reminiscent of flesh and bones, through a wet-and-dry-layer-after-layer process, and mixing techniques tendencies of the classic masters like sfumato and chiaroscuro to create drama and a realistic effect. I sometimes would also paint some of the garments on front or back to create additional layers. I’m mostly interested in the expression of the piece with a touch of reality to keep my work grounded to it..


1996-2001 School of Architecture Instituto Tecnologico de Colima 1998-2000 Escuela de Arte Juan Arrue (Juan Arrue Art Academy) Under the instruction of El maestro Rafael Heredia , Colima Mexico 2001-2005
Diverse drawing, painting and sculpting workshops.



February 2020 ‘Fluxus’ Galeria Omar Alonso Pto. Vallarta, Jal. Mexico
2019 “New Works Rogelio Manzo” Janine Bean Gallery
Berlin, Germany 2016 “Viceral”
Mexican Institute of Fine Arts El Nigromante.
San Miguel De Allende Guanajuato, Mex 2016 “Viceral”
San Miguel de Allende Guanajuato, Mex Galeria NUDO
San Miguel de Allende Guanajuato, Mex 2013 “Limbic”
Galeria Omar Alonso Pto. Vallarta, Jal. Mexico 2012 “Retratos Hablados” Jack Fischer Gallery San Francisco, California 2011 “New Portraits”
Skinner-Howard Contemporary Art
Sacramento California
2010 Skinner-Howard Contemporary Art “Looted”
Sacramento California


2020 “Art is a Remedy II”
Janine Bean Gallery Berlin, Germany
2019 “Territorios de la Memoria
Museum Of Modern Art Mexico City, Mexico
2019 “OZario”
Museo De La Cancilleria SRE
Mexico City, Mexico
2018 “Piel”Museo De La Cancilleria SRE
Mexico City, Mexico
2018 “Cosmografias” (2 Person show)
Bodega Quetzalli Oaxaca, Mexico
2017 “MontarlaBestia”
Artists Collective against discrimination
USC Fisher Museum of Art Los Angeles, California
2017 “SKULL” Artspace1616
Sacramento, California
2017 New Work
Galería Omar Alonso Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco MX
Clarinda Carnegie Art Museum
Lincoln, Nebraska
2015 “Unity”
Galeria Omar Alonso Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco Mexico 2
2014 “3 Man Show”
Galeria Omar Alonso Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco Mexico
2012 “The Contemporary Figure”
Lancaster Museum of Art and History
Lancaster, Ca. USA
2012 “Menscape” Galerie C
Neuchâtel Switzerland
2012 “Tormented”
Muriel Guepin Gallery Brooklin, NY
2011 New Gallery Opening Show
Cube Gallery, London UK
2011 “Intersections”
2011 “Viseral Discourse “, Artbox Gallery
Indianapolis, Indiana
2009 “Off The Grid” Skinner Howard Contemporary
Art Gallery Sacramento, California
2009 “Art Vs Walls”
Berlin Germany
2009 “The Fifth Continent”
Civic Centre Barceloneta
Barcelona Spain
2009 The 75th Crocker-Kingsley -California’s Biennial,


2019 Salon ACME
Galleria Quetzalli, Mexico City
2016 Art Basel Miami Florida
Evan Lurie Gallery Carmel, IN
2016 AAF N.Y.City
Evan Lurie Gallery Carmel, IN
2015 Art Aspen
Evan Lurie Gallery Carmel, IN
2015 Scope Miami
Evan Lurie Gallery
2014 Miami Project, FL
Jack Fischer Gallery, Sn. Fco. CA.
2014 Art Aspen, CO
Patrajdas, Ogden Utah
2013 Art San Diego, CA
Patrajdas, Ogden Utah
2013 artMRKT San Francisco
Jack Fischer Gallery
2012 Miami Project
Jack Fischer Gallery Sn. Francisco
2012 Texas Contemporary Art,
Houston. Jack Fischer Gallery
2012 Emerge. Washington, DC
Patrajdas Contemporary
2012 Art International Zurich, Switzerland
Gallerie C, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
2012 The AAF Stockholm, Sweden
Cube Gallery, London UK
2012 Art Hamptons Art Fair, NY
Evan Lurie Gallery, Indianapolis
2012 San Francisco ArtMkt
Jack Fischer Gallery, San Fancisco
2012 20/21 British Art Fair London
Cube Gallery, London UK
2012 AAF Brussels
Cube Gallery, London UK
2011 Toronto International Art Fair
Cube Gallery, London
2011 The AAF Hampstead, London
Cube Gallery, London U.K.
2011 AAF New York
Patrajdas Contemporary Chicago, IL
2011 artMRKT Houston
Jack Fischer Gallery
San Francisco, CA
2011 artMRKT San Francisco
Jack Fischer Gallery San Francisco, CA
2011 artMRKT
Patrajdas Contemporary Hamptons, NY
2011 Art Chicago
Artbox Gallery Indianapolis, IN
2010 Aqua Miami
Jack Fischer Gallery Sn. Francisco Miami, Florida


-2014 Estudio Aguacate, Pto. Vallarta, Jalisco Mexico
-2013 Estudio Aguacate, Pto. Vallarta, Jalisco Mexico


-2016 “Art as Bridge to Other Cultures” FACT Liverpool, United Kingdom
-2016 “Art and The Art Market” Cardiff School of Art and Design Cardiff, United Kingdom


Mrs. Karen and Mr. Robert Duncan, Lincoln, Ne.
Mrs. Kathy and Mr. Mark LeBaron, Lincoln, Ne.
Mr. Roger and Mrs. Martha Mertz, San San Francisco, Ca
Mrs. Claire Carlevaro, San Francisco, Ca. Mr. Don Margolis and Mrs. Janet Edson, Davis, Ca

I am intrigued by chaos, accident, and the intrinsic harmony and beauty that can emerge from them. In my artistic journey, I deliberately provoke accidents, only to later, during the creative process, embrace them in search of reconciliation and homeostasis. I introduce challenges and problems, only to reconstruct within their confines. It’s within this dynamic tension that I discover harmony and beauty.

My pragmatic approach has enabled me to explore and meld diverse materials and techniques. My formative years were spent in Mexico, where I had the privilege of visiting artisans in their workshops. I ventured to Mexico’s prominent art and craft-producing regions like Jalisco, Michoacán, Oaxaca, and the central Mexican valley. There, I immersed myself in the workshops of accomplished artisans, captivated by their fearless use of materials, their mastery of techniques, and the vivid tapestry of colors and textures. Their dedication to creating pieces that resonate as “hand-made,” executed with meticulous attention to craftsmanship, profoundly influenced my perspective on the essence of an art piece.

My creative process is intricate, and I have invested considerable time in comprehending the materials I employ. I’m continually seeking innovative ways to incorporate new materials and technologies into my work. This journey of exploration and experimentation has enriched my artistic expression, allowing me to push boundaries and craft narratives that resonate with both chaos and harmony.