Recent and upcoming shows include:

.     Artifact Gallery, New York City, December 2015
·       Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside, Ca, Artist Alliance Exhibition, July-October 2015
·       Expo Milano, Italy, Contemporary Art Show, January 2015
.     San Diego Art Institute, Regional Juried Show, San Diego, December 2014
·       Art San Diego, November 6-9, 2014
·       UCSD Faculty Club, La Jolla, Ca, Solo Show, October 2014-February 2015
.     Oceanside Museum of Art, Coastal Color Exhibition, Del Mar, June-September 2014
.     San Diego Art Institute, Southern Regional Juried Show, February 2014
.     San Diego Art Institute, International Juried Show, September 2013
.     San Diego Art Institute, Southern Regional Show, San Diego, May 2013
·       Chianciano Museum of Art, Chianciano, Italy, September 2012
·       UCSD Faculty Club, La Jolla, Ca, Solo Show, October 2011-February 2012
·       Nina Pì Gallery, Ravenna, Italy, Solo Show, June 2011
.     San Diego Art Institute, Regional Juried Show, San Diego, December 2010
.     San Diego Art Institute, Regional Juried Show, San Diego, May 2009  

About 'Weightlessness' Exhibition at Artifact Gallery, New York, December 2015

The works in the “Weightlessness” series employ gauze as bas-relief material, and along with acrylic paint on canvas, enact an imaginary stage performance, where the painterly materials become destabilized and transition from substance into an undefined image, or from an undefined image to substance.

The fabric is attached to the canvas to provide tactile texture, and depth. The interesting thing about gauze is that although it is made of natural coarse cotton it is soft to the touch, and its weave is open enough for the eye to see through it. When used in layers, gauze is perceived as a thick presence, but in a single layer it seems transparent. It can play different roles: it triggers discordant perceptions about its true substance, and it gives altered readings of the same substance.

When rigid interpretation dissipates to become a flexible understanding unrestricted by predjudice or viewpoint,, the essence of being is restored, and so are all of its intrinsic values. There is no need for description, no need for words. Perhaps essence, the core of everything, is simple, clear...weightless.

Weightlessness Studio Installation, 2015, 24 x 24 x 108 inches

Weightlessness Studio Installation, 2015, 24 x 24 x 108 inches

Rita Miglioli's Exaltation and Will

by John Austin

There is a flourish, a tumultuousness, in Rita Miglioli's work that belies her paintings' careful construction. Seen from a distance, her ephemeral swirls of paint and gauze are seriously compelling and dynamic. Comping up close to the surface of her work, the viewer takes in the minutiae of imbricated picture planes and the detailed, feathered edges of her painterly strokes. The great sea-swelling of her vista-like compositions assumes a serenely dream-like quality. It all looks so effortless: a sign of mastery. It is a truism, I suppose, to say that great painting is born out of ultimate freedom as well as necessity and will, yet in Rita Miglioli's case, the visual achievement is undeniable.

In 1863, the French art critic Charles Baudelaire asserted in Le Figaro (in one of his seminal essays later collectively titled The Painter of Modern Life) that deepest level of creative activity “is nothing more or less than childhood recovered at will.” Baudelaire continues: “It is by this deep and joyful curiosity that we may explain the fixed and animally ecstatic gaze of a child confronting something new, whatever it may be...a face or a landscape, gilding, colors, shimmering stuff, or the magic of physical beauty.” How apt these observations are in light of artist Rita Miglioli's abstract work, whose “shimmering stuffs” orient the viewer toward an appreciation of the artist's sense of play and control in her work.

On one level, in her Weightlessness Series,  Miglioli's coloristic and textural interplay constantly evokes a liberation of the image from a narrative or symbolic reading. It essentializes by insisting on the autonomy of the three-dimensional picture plane while evoking without gratuitousness a transcendent realm of pure expression. Yet references to the outside world remain, if tactfully submerged, in the artist's work. Indeed one might even suggest hat Miglioli's forte is the aligning of abstract codes of abstraction and representational possibilities. What is remarkable with Rita Miglioli's palette and mark-making capacity, then is its elasticity, this capacity to cleave to any number of inferences that diverge from non-objective ones, while obstinately staying within the regime of abstraction. For example, references to veiling find their measure in the deep swirls of Miglioli's morphing cascades. Yet the paint material itself is hardly prescriptive at all. In fact it is hardly over-determined in any real sense.

On another level, Miglioli sets up the contrasts in her gestural schema where the color and texture deliberately interfere to create a visual resistance to the play of infinite depth. As in many of her strongest works she creates a “dissociation of sensibility” with the ironic lack of relation between background and foreground. The result is a heightened drama of the pure “factness” of her materials that seem to have their own proud volition as the assert the support surface as surface itself.

What we see therefore is not exactly what we get in Miglioli's work; we get much more than what we bargained for. We feel contested territory in her work. Optical roller-coaster effects are held in careful balance through the artist's sheer craftsmanship and, importantly, through her judicious cropping and editing. The outer edges of her work are cadenced with exactitude and nuance, allowing the spectator to enter the picture plane through multiple viewpoints. The Weightlessness Series reminds us that the poetry in good abstract painting is in its infinite potential to revitalize its dialog with the viewer, to resist immediate comprehensibility through formal inventiveness.

The inventiveness of transcendence that plays itself out so readily in Rita Miglioli's art is particularized through the ambiguities of scale. Scale plays an important role in apprehending sensorially the given object and its gestural components in its given context of origin. Miglioli's textures and spaces create a system of signification through their obstinate conflation of the near and the far, the close-up and the far away, the miniature and the gigantic. It becomes very hard to pin down definitively whether the eye is to place itself at a remove from the painterly action, as if to give it more narrative play, or if we are immersed in action which occurs at a magnified level. In the latter case, the piecemeal and personalized reading permits a greater sensation of mastery and temporality. Analogies between us and our own status within a larger historical or social context will necessarily accrue as a residual reading of this temporal matrix.

As I had mentioned earlier, Miglioli's work pulses with vitality through its suggestive interplay between control and spontaneity. In Friedrich Schelling's words, art “reflects for us the identity of conscious and unconscious activity. The basic character of the work of art is thus an unconscious infinity (synthesis of nature and freedom).” Such integrative aspect is at the heart of Rita Miglioli's probing inquiry on the conditions of how we perceive and what we perceive. Because the senses are continually exalted in the artist's paintings, a rare quality of poetic exaltation permeates Miglioli's work, while her aesthetic is in this way raised to new, plastic heights.

John Austin is an art critic based in Manhattan

Artifact Gallery, 84 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002 Tel. (212) 475-0448

Artifact Gallery, 84 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002 Tel. (212) 475-0448

About 'Material Splendor' Exhibition at UCSD Faculty Club, October 2014-February 2015

At a university renowned for its modern scientific studies, the Italian-born artist Rita Miglioli is staging an art exhibit which take its theme from the classical elements of earth, air, fire and water. Her show at the UCSD Faculty Club, which opens October 13 and runs through February 10, 2015, is called “Material Splendor” because it uses the beauty of the physical universe to reflect the continuity of the human experience. “A rock is washed by a river, sculpted by wind, or liquified in volcanic transformation, yet retains its essence as part of the earth,” she says. “The ancients tailored their understanding to the world they observed around them, and the four-element model fit the available data, long ago.”

The paintings in the show, which are mostly acrylic on canvas, use bold colors and abstract forms to illustrate the elemental subject matter. A group of eight smaller paintings highlights the show’s theme, depicting the four elements in splendid colors, where even the earthen browns are enlivened with sparkling streaks gold and silver running through the deep-toned backgrounds.

Faculty Club VP and show curator Professor Alain J.-J Cohen discussed Miglioli’s work:

In the same way others turn to treatises, Rita Miglioli is at heart a philosopher who uses the medium of painting to think things through. In this current work, herreflection bears upon specks of the earthly universe, splendidly amplified upon her canvas in their ever-morphing materiality. She creates the vortex that she fears, and to which she abandons herself, at the same time as she tries to master it. She deconstructs the act of painting, along with the canvas that supports it. The four elements of pre-socratic thinkers are evoked yet reconfigured by art – or is it by chemistry’s periodic tables? She decants the process of consciousness and explores elements of herself involved in such a process. The result of this decontrolled drip painting and exhausting self-questioning is Miglioli’s large, spectacular work. It is is equally distributed in appearances of nano-elements and mega-bigbang galaxies. Whilst in layering artwork, she invokes  other major abstract artists such as Cy Twombly.

Geyser 1, 2013, 72 x 48 inches

Geyser 1, 2013, 72 x 48 inches

Immortal Shell, 2013, 48 x 36 inches

Immortal Shell, 2013, 48 x 36 inches

About 'Immaterial' Exhibition at UCSD Faculty Club, October 2011-February 2012  

Italian-born Artist Explores Big Issues in Show at UCSD Faculty Club

Where we come from, how we got here

The paintings are abstract with glimpses of recognizable forms. They alternate the use of bold reds and warm grays, while some have the deep blues and blacks of the interstellar space in which Miglioli envisions creation and destruction alternating in a creative process. She named the show Immaterial because the word, as she puts it, "expresses the dual nature of life: simple, everyday objects and gestures are material in the sense that we can touch, taste, see and smell, but immaterial in the sense that each thing contains the purity of form and meaning to which it may wish to aspire." For her, "human nature is likewise material in the sense that we live in a physical world and must move, breathe, love, or work, but there is in each of us an immaterial or spiritual component that contains the best ideas, feelings, and deeds of which we are capable."

Professor Alain Cohen, VP of the Faculty Club Board and an enthusiast of Miglioli's art, curated the show: “Rita Miglioli’s work is unique as well as engaged in a dialogue with the likes of Cy Twombly and other major contemporary abstract artists. Several of the works she selected for this exhibition address an elusive spacetime and boundary between integrative bas-relief material and the specific painterliness of acrylics. Under our gaze, parts of the painterly-gauzed material become destabilized as she reconfigures the edges which morph from substance into deconstructed evanescence. The brain/mind mysterious chaosmos comes to mind, as does the mesmerizing horizon wherein ocean and sky become harder and harder to delineate."

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