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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Barbara Rogers


Rogers has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally including one person exhibitions at major galleries and museums in San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Scottsdale, Germany, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. Her work is in major public and private collections including The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, The Oakland Museum of Art, and The San Jose Museum of Art.

She was born and grew up in a small town in Northern Ohio and graduated with a B.SC. degree in Art Education from Ohio State University.  In California she studied painting at The San Francisco Art Institute with Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff and Frank Lobdell. She studied life drawing with Nathan Oliviera at California College of Arts and Crafts.  She received the Eisner Prize and her MA in Painting from the University of California at Berkeley. At UC Berkeley she studied with NY painters Michael Goldberg and Angelo Ippolito.  Her major professor was the Chicago painter, Felix Ruvolo.

Rogers has been a faculty member or visiting artist at the University of California, Berkeley, CA, University of Chicago, San Jose State University, The San Francisco Art Institute, Cooper Union, New York City, NY,  University of Washington, Seattle, WA, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA. Pusan National University, Pusan, South Korea and Zayed university in Adu Dhabi.  In 2007, after numerous mentoring and teaching awards, Rogers retired from the University of Arizona in 2007, and is now Professor Emeritus of Painting and Drawing in The School of Art at The University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ.

Artist Statement

Transcending the Ordinary
 Every day, as we try to stay informed, we read or watch the news.  Occasionally there are reports of the contributions, achievements, and courageous acts by people that make us feel pride in being human. More often though, we are bombarded with images of misery, cruelty, devastation, deception, and greed.  These presentations of moderated truth are ubiquitous reminders of the ugliness that can be created by humans.  I make paintings to transcend daily life and the six o’clock news, to evoke the sublime, to reaffirm the existence of beauty and the critical importance of cherishing the earth.  

I paint because the act of painting is direct; it is another truth—you make a mark and there it is, just you and this act of creation.  When I paint, I am an explorer in the terrain of my own psyche, discovering what relationships will emerge as the work develops. I depart from representational accuracy to select and then exaggerate or simplify the stunning botanical forms that are present in the world around me.

If your artwork is not readily identified as art that challenges the status quo or in support of social change then you run the risk of being labeled the maker of beautiful and harmonious paintings.  Some call beautiful, abstract painting mere decoration, as if decorative is a pejorative. Yet, every person, every culture beautifies in its own way; even in the most modest settings, people look for ways to bring beauty to their surroundings, to create a sanctuary.  Making something beautiful is a necessary act of ritual for many people in the world.   This act, in and of itself, has function and meaning. Through my paintings, I am reclaiming a space for beauty in the midst of everyday life;  I seek to create a place of respite, reflection, and contemplation. 

My most recent works continue my exploration of those emblems of the microcosm that I invent or discover.  I try to investigate various systems of order and harmony in what at first appears to be nature’s chaos. I like the opportunity to look at things I cannot identify, which happens in nature more than any other place. It is a privilege to observe phenomenon that are incomprehensible at first.  Because they are from nature, not human, you know they have a practical purpose. 

Every painting I begin makes its own demands.  The wonder of this dialogue with paint, color, form, light and space is what keeps me excited about working.  Work comes out of work!  My ideas come as much from the art I have already made, travel, and studying diverse cultures as from nature. Travel and working in my own garden in Tucson, AZ, are a constant source of new ideas.  All the colors, shapes, and forms I have experienced are stored in my memories, and ready to be drawn upon when I am working.  My working process involves continual changes in texture, form, and color that develop during each studio work session until the piece is realized, insisting on its own eccentric presence in the world.

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