Barbara Rogers




Professor Emerita, School of Art, University of Arizona

Barbara Rogers has exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally, including solo 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 Frick Art Museum, University of Pittsburgh, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Crocker Museum (Sacramento, CA), The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, The Tucson Museum of Art, Arizona State University Museum of Art, The Oakland Museum of Art, and The San Jose Museum of Art.;jsessionid=5E932E2BC0DAAFD0009967CE1822A5B9-n2.Jbhbws2SNa1iTqCkrxjAEVTPApk?selection

Ancient Embellishments, 2010, oil and gold leaf on canvas over wooden panel, 75×51”;jsessionid=5E932E2BC0DAAFD0009967CE1822A5B9-n2.Jbhbws2SNa1iTqCkrxjAEVTPApk?selection

Arriving At The Lake Palace, 2010, oil on canvas, 60×52”


Barbara’s work has been reviewed in such major publications as The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, Seattle Times, Los Angles Times, Art News, Art Forum and Art in America.;jsessionid=5E932E2BC0DAAFD0009967CE1822A5B9-n2.Jbhbws2SNa1iTqCkrxjAEVTPApk?selection

Monsoon Pond, 2007, oil on canvas, 60 x 52”;jsessionid=5E932E2BC0DAAFD0009967CE1822A5B9-n2.Jbhbws2SNa1iTqCkrxjAEVTPApk?selection

Secret of Joy, 2007, oil on canvas, 60 x 52”



Barbara studied with Richard Diebenkorn and Elmer Bischoff at the San Francisco Art Institute. She graduated with a B.SC. degree in Art Education from Ohio State University; she received the Eisner Prize and her MA in Painting from the University of California at Berkeley.;jsessionid=5E932E2BC0DAAFD0009967CE1822A5B9-n2.Jbhbws2SNa1iTqCkrxjAEVTPApk?selection

Ordinary Miracles, 2006, oil on canvas, 96 x 52”



Barbara Rogers has been a faculty member or visiting artist at many major universities in the US and internationally.  In 2007, after numerous mentoring and teaching awards, Rogers retired and is now Professor Emeritus of Painting and Drawing in The School of Art at The University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ.;jsessionid=5E932E2BC0DAAFD0009967CE1822A5B9-n2.Jbhbws2SNa1iTqCkrxjAEVTPApk?selection

Cultural Alchemy #2, 2011, oil on canvas, 64 x 48”



Artist Statement

August 2010


Much of contemporary art practice has avoided outright beauty. I want to remain vulnerable to beauty. I want to be stopped in my tracks by something I call beautiful that I have never noticed or seen before.


My painting ideas come as much from art history, travel and studying diverse cultures as from nature.  I often look at the images of Matisse, Bosch, Hans Hofmann, Mondrian and the gorgeous embellishments on the wood and stones in Indian and Asian architecture. I feel a deep connection with the ornaments of every culture.  I can see the connection between the botanical forms in any location in the world and the ornamental shapes and colors developed over centuries by the members of the groups of people who have stayed in that region.   Making something ornamental and 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 paintings are abstract in the sense that they depart from representational

accuracy.   I often select and then exaggerate or simplify botanical forms that are suggested in the world around me especially in my own garden in Tucson, Arizona.

The most recent combined encaustic and oil paintings continue my exploration of those emblems of the microcosm that I invent or discover.  I still try to investigate various systems of order versus what at first appears to be nature’s chaos. My working process on these current paintings 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.

Every painting I begin makes its own demands.  The wonder of this dialogue with paint, color, form and space is what keeps me excited about working.




Cultural Alchemy #5, 2011, oil on canvas, 30 x 24”





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Barbara RogersThe Imperative of Beauty


 The Imperative of Beauty, the first book to document artist and eductor Barbara Rogers’ life and work in detail,  is being designed and produced by Marquand Books, an award winning publishing house specializing in the design and production of fine art books; and distributed by Hudson Hills Press, the premier source for books on 20th century art.  The 224-page book, which includes 150 color plates and 25 black & white images, is scheduled to be released in April 2012.

The Imperative of Beauty traces Rogers’ earliest influences and education, the shift in her practice following Hurricane Iwa, and her work since that time, which has grown increasingly complex and ambitious. Three essays examine the evolution of her work.  Art historian, Paul Eli Ivey explores the work up until 1985; New York writer and critic, Carter Ratcliff, sees her work moving from turmoil to serenity; and museum director and curator, Marilyn A. Zeitlin considers her approaches to beauty and the tradition of ornament.  Interviews in the artist’ s own voice reveal the relationship between Rogers’s life experience and her art. The book not only documents the progress of an individual artist but also reflects the trajectory of women working in the arts in the latter part of the twentieth and the early part of the twenty-first centuries, and the challenge facing an artist working in the American West outside the world’s major art centers.

While much of contemporary art practice has avoided outright beauty, Barbara

Rogers has unabashedly embraced and explored it.  “I want to remain vulnerable to beauty,” she says. “I want to be stopped in my tracks by something I call beautiful that I have never noticed or seen before.”

Rogers came of age as an artist during the battle between abstraction and the revival of the figurative. Modernism had sidelined narrative content for purity, and then went further, redlining beauty as distraction or transmuting it into a spiritualized sublime. In the decades of the 1970s and ’80s, modernism itself was debunked, but beauty, filtered out by irony, was still kept waiting outside critical acceptance. Rogers studied with members of the Bay Area figurative movement at Berkeley and the San Francisco Art Institute, and she was close to Elmer Bischoff and the work of David Park and Richard Diebenkorn.  Never declaring full allegiance to the figurative movement they led, neither was Rogers prepared to sacrifice the image for pure abstraction. She forged a style that places the figure in a setting that includes rich foliage, creating a tension through the suggestion of allegorical content. Then in 1982 she experienced a powerful hurricane in Hawaii. The storm tore away much of the built environment, revealing for Rogers a new and more compelling world in which natural forms overpower the human form and take on an independent life. From this point, she focused on details of natural forms—plants, shells, invertebrate animals—and began a study of the history of ornament.


ISBN 13: 978-1-55595-347-8

ISBN: 1-55595-347-6

224 pages
10½ x 11 in.  (26.6 x 28 cm. )
150 color plates
25 black & white

To pace orders for the book, contact:

Barbara Rogers

Phone and Fax: 520-299-0940




Barbara Rogers

6161 N. Camino Padre Isidoro

Tucson, AZ 85718


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