Rita Robillard received her MFA and BA degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and attended Cooper Union in New York prior to moving west. She has taught at the University of California at Davis, the San Francisco Art Institute, Rhode Island School of Design, and Washington State University and is currently an Emerita Professor from Portland State University where she chaired the Department and the MFA program. Her artwork ranges from traditional painting and printmaking to new-genre installations and videos.
The University of Puget Sound is hosting a January/February 2016 solo exhibition titled, Here & There: Timeless Migrations of Robillard’s recent works. Renewing Time, Caressing the Moment, 2014, And then Again…Rifts on the Forest and Time, 2013 exhibitions were shown at the Augen Gallery in Portland were in the, inspired by her travels in Italy and in the second an artist’s residency at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. The work was created at the Kala Institute in Berkeley, California.
In 2014 she was included in the Women in Print: A Contemporary View, at The Williamson Gallery, Scripps College, with a catalog featuring an essay by Margret Berenson. The mixed-media series, Luminous Frontier was shown in the exhibition Place and Time at Williamson Gallery, Scripps College, in Claremont, California. The exhibition curated by Mary MacNaughton with a catalog essay by critic Sue Taylor. This work was supported by grants from the Oregon Arts Commission and Portland State University, “Robillard conflates historical images of exploration with contemporary images of scientific frontiers of outer space and microbiological spaces” Taylor. The installation Lookout/Outlook documenting the 360-degree view from a forest fire lookout tower was shown at the Littman Gallery on the PSU campus in 2009.
In an earlier solo exhibition, “Time and Place”, at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery, in Portland, Oregon, Robillard explored historical images and contemporary conceptions of Portland and the Pacific Northwest. As in prior exhibitions “Essence and Artifice: Visual Images of Spokane” and “The Garden, The Park and The Fall From Grace” about Gramercy Park in New York, Robillard presented mixed-media prints that place details of buildings and gardens against the promise of the idealized landscape. The work contrasts early travel-book engravings of the “new world” or arcadia with the realization of immigrants’ dreams in the imprints of architecture and urban design. In the midst of astounding natural beauty, Robillard observes, people create a sense of belonging through their interventions in the landscape
Robillard’s mixed-media work has been included in a hundred museum and gallery exhibitions, in Santiago, Chile at the Museum of Contemporary Art; Sao Paulo and Curitiba, Brazil; Tokyo; Hangzhou, China; London; and Lacoste, France. Her Fire Lookout Tower video was shown in “How Artists Use Video,” at Artist’s Talk on Art Panels: On Contemporary Issues in Art, New York. Her work is included in over twenty public collections including the Portland Art Museum; Yale University Library; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The National Academy of Art, China; and Museu da Gravura, Curitiba, Brazil. Robillard has served on the board of the College Art Association as Chair of the Visual Arts Committee, on the Executive Committee, and on the editorial board of the Art Journal.