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

Born September 1st. 1975
Guadalajara, Mexico

1996-2001 School of Architecture
Instituto Tecnologico de Colima
1998-2000 Escuela de Arte Juan
Arrua (Juan Arrue Art Academy)
Under the instruction of El maestro
Rafael Heredia , Colima Mexico
Diverse drawing, painting
and sculpting workshops.
Solo Shows
2012 ‘Retratos Hablados’ (Future)
Jack Fischer Gallery
San Francisco, California
2011 “New Portraits”
Skinner-Howard Contemporary Art
Sacramento California
2010 Skinner/Howard Contemporary Art “Looted”, resent portraits Sacramento California
2008 GLC “Forced Portraits” Sacramento California
2007 Salon 701
“Gestures of the Skin”
Selected Group Shows
2012 “Menscape” Future
Galerie C
Neuchâtel Switzerland
2012 “Exposed”
Muriel Guepin Gallery
Brooklin, NY
2011 “Gallery Ignaguration Opening”
Cube Gallery, London UK
2011 “Intersections” DUCTAC Dubai, UAE
2011 “Viseral Discourse” 2 person exhibition, Artbox Gallery Indianapolis, Indiana
2011 “The X Rated Show” Skinner Howard Contemporary Art Gallery Sacramento, California
2009 “Off The Grid” Skinner Howard Contemporary Art Gallery Sacramento, California
2009 “Art Vs Walls”
Berlin Germany
2009 “Emergent Art” Goyart International
Sala APP Goya
Zaragoza Spain
2009 “The Fifth Continent”
Civic Centre Barceloneta
Barcelona Spain
2009 The 75th Crocker-Kingsley California’s Biennial, Tsakopoulos Galleria
Sacramento California2009
Art Fairs
2011 Red Dot Miami
Artbox Indianapolis
2011 Toronto International Art Fair
Cube Gallery, London
2011 The AAF Bettersea, London
Cube Gallery, London
2011 The AAF Hampstead, London
Cube Gallery, London
2011AAF New York
Patrajdas Contemporary
Chicago, IL
2011 Texas Contemporary Art in Houston
Jack Fischer Gallery
San Francisco, CA
2011 artMRKT San Francisco
Jack Fischer Gallery
San Francisco, CA
2011 Art Chicago
Artbox Gallery
Indianapolis, IN2011 artMRKT
Patrajdas Contemporary
Hamptons, NY
2010 Aqua Miami
Jack Fischer Gallery Sn. Francisco
Miami, Florida
2009 Agrigento Art
Mostra Internazionale D’Arte Segnali del Tempo 2009
Agrigento/Sicilia, Italy
2009 beArt/CABE and Arteria 6th Edition Monzon Huesca Spain
Mr. Roger and Mrs. Martha Mertz, San Francisco, CaAlistair and JV Russell
London, UK
Mrs. Claire Carlevaro, San Francisco, Ca.
Mr. Don Margolis and Mrs. Janet Edson, Davis, Ca.
Mr. Steve Nowicki and Mrs. Kelly McDonald, Davis Ca.
Mr.Patrick Whitnell, Sacramento, Ca.
Mr. Robin Dewey, Sacramento, Ca.

I’m interestedin chaos and accident and the harmony and beauty found within. In my work I provoke the accident to later, during the creative process, embrace it looking for reconciliation and homeostasis. My approach as when creating is a construct-demolish-repair process; during this struggle I find a brute yet honest identity in my subjects.
…our perception of the world and ourselves is grounded on explicit or implicit agreements in society. I’m instigating this conventionalism and exposing the viewer to a visceral discourse concerned with our own bodily integrity and mortality.

Galeria Omar Alonso © 2020

f t i c

Leona Vicario 249, Centro, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, C.P. 48300, Mexico. Phone+52 (322) 222 5587