In the paintings of Rody, viewers discover winsome scenes from a bygone period of Parisian society, set around the time of the Belle Epoque (1871-1914). In Rody’s paintings, Paris is a city of love and light, whose beauty issues mainly from the artists and poets who populate it.
Yet Rody is also wont to paint the grittier side of her beloved 19th century Paris—a kind of Baudelairian necropolis peopled with shadows of the night. Here, moral ambiguity thrives. Rody’s oil on canvas work The Cards Player is an instance of this. Taking inspiration from old photographs, the figure in the painting has the classical look of the villian, with eyebrows arched downwards, and the suggestion of an insolent sneer on his lips. Formally, in terms of the application of paint to canvas, one notes how Rody has added a splash of red to the composition—filling out the table upon which playing cards have been placed. This color suggests passion and seduction, which lends her painting a reckless sense of boldness.