Robert Baribeau was born in Aberdeen WA in 1949. He received his BS from Portland State University in 1978, and his MFA from the Pratt Institute in 1979. He has been honored with a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, a Pratt Institute Art Department Grant/Fellowship, and a Florence Saltzman-Heidel Foundation Grant. His work has been reviewed in Artforum, Artnews, The New York Times, The New York Sunand New York Magazine. Baribeau lives and works in Stanfordville, New York.
His extensive career involves the close examination and abstraction of nature. Trained as a landscape architect, Baribeau’s keen sense of perspective and composition evoke impressions of land, sea and sky. Since the 1970’s, Baribeau has channeled the raw energy of post-war abstraction. Sharing Robert Rauschenberg’s engagement with collage, many of Baribeau’s paintings employ a variety of mixed media, passionate gesture and experimental techniques. Works from the late 90s are dominated by thickly painted, hard-edged geometries and the adoption of found household materials, such as maps, patterned fabrics, and cardboard, as collage elements. Since the early 2000s Baribeau has produced several series, including his esteemed flowers and cigarbox paintings, as well as his Field and Milbrook series, for which he applies thick mixtures of oil paint, acrylic, clear latex, and collage, onto canvases that evoke Diebenkorn’s Berkeleypaintings or Rauschenberg’s Combines.
“The Son of Abstract Expressionism! With neo-New York School gusto, he energizes his surfaces – paper, canvas, smooth wood – by means of fat, drippy strokes and blobs of pigment, gessoed impasto, polka-dotted fabric, pieces of striped paper, jigsaw puzzle pieces and other embellishments.”
“Whatever he does, Mr. Baribeau’s painterly passion is exhilarating.”
Grace Glueck , The New York Times, 2004
“Baribeau’s mixed-media approach to abstraction gives his canvases and objects an intensely material presence, producing a cycle of paintings, both passionate and playful.”
“Working on the scale of the human body, Baribeau’s paintings recall the hybrid of Pop and abstraction in Robert Rauschenberg’s early combines.”
“Set into relief by the larger canvases, which literally became a background of painted fields, these contemplative, solitary figures appeared as serene moments in a field of colorful bedlam.”
Megan Heuer, ARTnews, 2004
“An exploration of pleasing and riotous work in a palette of bright jewel tones.”
“Exuberant brushstokes, collage, and gobs of paint on canvas.”
The New York Sun, June 2008
“What do Robert Baribeau’s painting show us that we haven’t seen before? They’re full of the painterly Sturm und Drang, the excitement about paint – narcissistic absorption in its fluid pleasures and seductive touch, self-dramatization through dramatizing the medium.”
Donald Kuspit, ARTFORUM, October 2008, 2004