(B. 1949)

Rooted firmly in the New York School, artist Robert Baribeau employs the expressive gestures and heavy impastoes of Abstract Expressionism in his canvases, sculptures, and works on paper. Baribeau infuses his surfaces with found ephemera such as wrapping paper and fabric, building upon already dense and highly tactile layers of paint. These collages reflect the voracious aesthetic appetite that is characteristic of his work that seems to vacuum up materials into its surfaces in a manner akin to the combine paintings of Robert Rauschenberg.  The result, as Grace Glueck deemed them in a review for the New York Times, is a “joyous riot” of colors and textures (1).  

Baribeau worked for a landscape designer as a student, and the influence of the landscape is present in his work even today. In a 2008 Artforum review, Donald Kuspit elaborates this fact: “Baribeau’s paintings are lyric responses to nature—to landscape, seen in all its purity, that is, as a complex of abstract ingredients (texture, color, shape) rather than as a particular scene.” (2) The jagged registers of his more abstract compositions can read as horizon lines, while the more figural flower paintings, which posses


“an almost formal elegance and a serenity that sets them apart,” could be elements of that same landscape, seen from a closer perspective. (3)

Robert Baribeau is most known for his joyful canvases worked in bright jewel tones in heavy impasto. Born in Washington in 1949 and trained in the very late stages of the New York School in the 1960s, Baribeau now resides in New York’s Hudson River Valley, where he transcribes the rolling landscape around him into brilliant, abstract interpretations that reflect the late Abstract Expressionists with whom he associated, including the artists Grace Hartigan and Joan Mitchell.

1. Grace Glueck, “Art In Review: Robert Baribeau,” The New York Times, July 2, 2004.
2. Donald Kuspit, “Robert Baribeau,” Artforum, October 2008, 382-383.
3. Glueck, 2004.

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