Rita Baragona’s recent paintings and drawings capture with luminous color and energized line the rhythmic life of oceans, flower-based still lifes and gardens. Many works are painted from nature as moment-to-moment conversations between artist's eye, subject, and painting surface. Others combine direct perception with accrued memories. The most recent work combines images produced of the same subject at different times, walking the viewer through nature's ever-changing aspect. The relationship between energy, matter and perception have long inspired the artist, who writes, "My colors become a metaphor for the energy that underlies mass, and my rhythmic marks indicate the ongoing changes that I perceive in nature." In a 2015 catalog essay, John Goodrich note how her intense images leave "...our senses elasticized, our awareness deepened...This is what it means to see."

Untitled photo

Brief Resumé

Rita Baragona was born in New York in 1945. She received a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in 1967, and attended the New York Studio School from 1968 to 1970.

From 1979 - 2015, she has had fifteen one-person exhibitions at the Bowery Gallery in New York. Other selected one-person shows have been at Rider University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Washington Art Association, and the Dutot Museum. Selected group shows include, in NYC, Lori Bookstein Gallery, Kouros Gallery, Borgenicht Gallery, Midtown Payson Gallery, Painting Center, Lohin-Geduld Gallery, and the New York Studio School; and across the USA , the Noyes Museum, NJ, Well Street Gallery, AK, Lyme Academy, CT, Tallahassee Gallery, FL, Bryn Mawr College, PA, and Allentown Museum, PA. As a member of Zeuxis, she has shown in various venues across the US. A select few include Southwestern Illinois College, IL, Anderson University, IN; The Painting Center, NYC; Lancaster Museum of Art, PA; and MICA, MD.

Baragona taught painting and drawing at Blair Academy in Blairstown, NJ for 24 years, serving for part of that time as department chair. On several occasions she was an adjunct professor at Rider University, Lawrenceville, NJ, and arts festival painting instructor, Fairbanks, AK, as well as teaching private classes.

Residencies include the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, California, and the Vermont Studio Center. Her work is reproduced in T. Sullivan, The Best of Drawing and mentioned in Jed Perl, Gallery Going. Baragona has been positively reviewed in art journals and newspapers including Examiner.com, Art in America, the New Criterion, Art and Antiques, The New Republic, Arts, and Packet.

Excerpts of Selected Reviews

The New Republic

“Baragona combines an overall soft luminosity with a steely pinpoint accuracy and brings this unpredictable painterly attack to her quiet violet-and-yellow bouquets and her gardens raging with rainbow-hued flowers.” Jed Perl, 1996

The New Criterion

“Baragona builds small, powerful structures without seeming to do much at all. The results are miniaturized visions of paradise – a paradise of yellow violet light.” Jed Perl, 1992

“It was particularly interesting to see a flower painting by Nell Blaine next to one by Rita Baragona, the most gifted flower painter of the next generation.” New York Stories, Jed Perl, 1990

“. . . flower painting becomes a metaphor for painting itself, color-as-form . . . Taken together Blaine and Baragona are the paragon of a living tradition.” Keeping the Faith, Jed Perl, 1989

Art and Antiques

“Baragona is at her best in close-up character studies she does of individual flowers.” Patricia Bailey, 1990

“An unexpected tension develops between the luxuriousness of the subject and Baragona’s understated handling of the acrylic paint which achieves lightness and informality.” David Daniel, 1989

Art in America

“What a nature painter must do is impose some human logic or private poetry on the natural world. . . . By this measure Rita Baragona is a very interesting painter.” Jed Perl, l982

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