rita robillard
"Robillard’s contemplation of time and place, with its historical underpinnings, is an ongoing inquiry in her work. Intensive research is part of her studio practice; she regularly investigates historical documents, photographs, and primary source accounts. Past series have explored the tension between the history of a place and its current face, accompanied by the context of human activity."

— Linda Tesner, Hoffman Gallery Director

The nature of place is the focus of Robillard’s artwork; for the last thirty years, she has lived and worked in the Pacific Northwest. Her solo exhibitions at the Augen Gallery in Portland OR include The Waters of March-Spring (2019) Polarities: Patterns in Time (2016) and Renewing Time, Caressing the Moment (2014), And then Again…Rifts on the Forest and Time (2013). These shows were inspired by Robillard’s travels in Italy, Brazil, and a residency at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology with support from a Ford Family Foundation Grant.

Robillard’s mixed-media work has been included in over 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, Fulcrum Gallery, New York. Her work is included in over thirty 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’s mixed-media series, Luminous Frontier, was shown at Williamson Gallery at Scripps College in Claremont, California, curated by Mary MacNaughton with a catalog essay by critic Sue Taylor. This series was supported by grants from the Oregon Arts Commission and Portland State University. The installation Lookout/Outlook (2009) documents the 360-degree view from a forest fire lookout tower was shown at the Littman Gallery at PSU in 2009, and Washington State University Art Gallery. This work underscores Robillard’s attention to ecology of place from a 360 degree perspective. In 2014, she was featured in Women and Print: A Contemporary View, essay by Margaret Mathews-Berenson.

In Time and Place (2001), at Portland’s Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Robillard explored historical images and contemporary conceptions of the Pacific Northwest. She also exhibited Essence and Artifice: Visual Images of Spokane and The Garden, The Park and The Fall From Grace. Here, Robillard presents mixed-media images that juxtapose the urbanity of buildings and gardens against the promise of idealized landscape. The work contrasts early “new world” or arcadia engravings with 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 received her MFA and BA degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and attended Cooper Union in New York. 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 a Professor at PSU where she chaired the Department and the MFA program. 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.