Providence Art Club showcases impressionist’s vibrant landscapes

Monday, September 27, 2004

The Providence Art Club is currently host to stunning images of nature in the impressionistic oil paintings of Rhode Island native Domine Vescera Ragosta, whose exhibit “Eye of the Beholder” opened this weekend.

Ragosta, a member of the club, is known for her depictions of snowy woods, green meadows and flowers. She paints with a soft yet aggressive style that conveys the texture and life of her subject matter. 

Her paintings use unique colors and heavy layers of paint to draw the eye and illustrate the forms of leaves, branches and petals. “I’m very passionate when I paint.  I’m not afraid of color,” Ragosta said. 

Impressionistic art does away with solid lines and figures, letting color create the shape of images. Ragosta is skilled at using subdued greens to illustrate soft, delicate lily pads or vibrant reds to bring out sharp, thin dandelion needles. Unexpected colors, like swatches of bright green in a field, jump out at the viewer and demand closer attention.

Ragosta eschews brushes and works exclusively with palette knives to create areas of thick paint, preferring to create the painting as a whole instead of focusing on specific areas. 

“Painting is problem solving,” she said, adding that she enjoys creating larger pieces.

Though Ragosta’s smaller paintings are intimate and bring focus to details, her large pieces are more majestic and convey a sense of openness befitting of nature.

Ragosta gets most of her inspiration from her surroundings – her home is located on a quiet dead end between two ponds. Though art has always been her true love, she originally worked as a nurse. 

“Nursing was something I was sidetracked into,” she said. 

But she eventually found herself “yearning painting.” She began studying at RISD and took up the impressionistic style. 

“If it’s your passion, you’ll probably always have an inclination (toward it),” she said.

It is easy to see the passion that went into her pieces. On “Fallen Snow,” the paint is cleverly worked into lines that stand out from the canvas, evoking a mass of branches.  In another piece, Ragosta repeats the effect in globs, to create the effect of snow on a fallen trunk, evoking the image of Thiebaud’s “Cakes.”  Her work is best when the paint is thick enough to hide the texture of the canvas – in a few pieces where the paint is thin, the work is not as bold.

“Red Peonies” illustrates the charm of Ragosta’s work. It features beautiful, deep red peonies in a vase and two petals fallen on the table.

“Eye of the Beholder” will be on display until Friday. Ragosta displays her work at the club every two years.

The Providence Art Club is a non-profit organization that hosts exhibits of artists from the Northeast. It is holding a nationwide open juried show in a month, with the reception set for Oct. 21. Admission is free.

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