"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 seek to create a place of respite, reflection, and contemplation," explains Barbara Rogers.
That serenity reverberates through the Tucson International Airport (TIA) Main Gallery where her current show is now on display through June 30, 2010.
The garden has guided and enticed Rogers since her youth. "The role of the garden as metaphor is something that goes all the way back to my early childhood. Gardens were always magical and important places to me," she continues.
Using the metaphor of the garden, Ms. Rogers' work addresses the issues of the life cycle, chaos and order, landscape and abstraction in both painting and photography. She sees the importance of the garden as a fundamental pivot where nature and culture convene and where personal desires can assume political significance.
The Lotusland series included in this exhibit represents a turning point in her career. "In 1990, I was taken to a stunning and eccentric 35-acre garden in Montecito, California, that made me feel like I was walking into one of my early paintings. It seemed more like living, site-specific sculpture than any garden I have ever seen. In this garden, plant materials form shapes, color fields and enclosures that are almost surreal. I could not get the beauty of the experience out of my mind and eventually I knew I wanted to study and visit other gardens created to be works of art in themselves."
This journey has led Ms. Rogers to create her own paradise in Tucson, Arizona, where her own garden was featured in the March issue of Tucson Lifestyle: Home & Garden.
Throughout her career she has used photography as a tool for the creation of her paintings and drawings. "Photographs allow us to capture a moment in the ever-changing environment of the garden and then relate that story to the viewer," she says.
Motivated by Professor Ken Shore and the mural lab at the University of Arizona, Ms. Rogers began to include photography with her more traditional work. "The idea that I could make enormous photographs and show them alongside paintings was an exciting revelation that echoed back to the storytelling of my early work."
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 Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, The Tucson Museum of Art, The Oakland Museum of Art, and The San Jose Museum of Art.
Ms. Rogers has been a faculty member and visiting artist at many major universities in the U.S. and internationally. In 2007, after numerous mentoring and teaching awards, she retired and is now Professor Emeritus of Painting and Drawing in The School of Art at The University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona.
The temporary exhibits program at Tucson International Airport is open to artists living in the airport's trade area: Pima, Pinal, Cochise, Santa Cruz Counties in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. Since the Authority initiated this community outreach program in 1991, it has hosted exhibits by hundreds of artists in the region. Details about the Tucson Airport Authority Arts & Culture Program can be found at www.tucsonairport.org.