Mixed Media, Paper
Abstract green, red, and grey toned mixed media painting by Texas artist, Rita Blasser. The piece is displayed floating behind glass in a natural light wood frame.
Born 1926 in Brooklyn, NY and relocated to Dallas, TX with her family around 1937. She graduated from Highland Park High School and began her professional career in the business world, assuming a variety of obligatory roles in the family business. Drawn naturally to the creative elements of the fashion world, Blasser's earliest artistic productions were fashion sketches depicting typical svelte models of the late 1940s and 50s adorned in the stylish, blowsy dresses which were custom designed and produced by the firm. Even today, Blasser's models possess a simple elegance in their line and form, and clearly demonstrate an ealry propensity for fine design and draftsmanship. While direct in their purpose, as illustrations, Blasser's fashion sketches are nonetheless engaging, and foretell of the obvious talent which she was to more fully develop in her latter career as artist and teacher. By the early 1960s, however, as she approached her mid-30s, Blasser's natural proclivities burst through as she entered the undergraduate art program at Southern Methodist University (a bold and atypical starting age for a woman of that period), and simultaneously launched a teaching career as an instructor in the school's division of continuing education. She attained the BFA from SMU in 1968, and followed with an MFA there in 1969. In 1969, she almost moved to El Centro College, and began a twenty-year teaching engagement with the Dallas Community College System where she served as an instructor at four of the system's colleges, most notably associated with Mountain View College (1970-74: 1984-90). She also served brief stints as a university instruct at both SMU and Texas Woman's University, a swell as the University of Dallas, being among the first Jewish faculty members at that private catholic institution. In addition to teaching adult students, Blasser remained active and deeply interested in children's art, beginning as an instructor with the children's art program at the Museum School of the Dallas Museum of Art. Beyond her demanding teaching schedule, Blasser was equally fastidious about her own work as an artist, and devoted to continued professional development in the field. She pursued (but never completed) the Ph.D. in painting at The University of North Texas, and along the way received instruction or critique from such notables as Hans Hofmann, Robert Breckman, Frederick Taubes, Carlotta Corpron and Wilfred Higgins. Given primarily to abstract compositions, Blasser Worked effectively in a variety of media, and experimented broadly with a wide range of styles, techniques, and materials. While successful in most all these modalities, she became particularly adept as a print-maker, as well as becoming known for dynamic and electrifying landscapes done in perhaps the most Texas-centered medium of all - cattle markers! She was indeed at the creative forefront of all Texas artists in her use of "found objects" in printmaking. Given her early activism in the feminist movement and her sensitivity to the plight of women, she was inclined to incorporate everyday household and domestic objects associated with the traditional roles of women (i.e. shopping bags, children's clothing, grocery packages and even men's undergarments) into her print work. The results were sublime, creative and highly novel renderings, and these distinctive, multi-media prints achieved sound critical acclaim and numerous awards when shown. Among the most successful of these found-object prints can be found in Blasser's "bag" series, which the artist adroitly fashions simple grocery sacks into sensuous, highly evocative forms. Her use of cattle-markers, a form of oil-pastel paint, is another stroke of Blasser's everyday genius. While employing this medium in many compositions, Blasser was at her best when applying the Texas cattle-marker tot he Texas terrain! Her landscapes of this manner became true gems of regional abstraction, popping with brilliant colors reflecting the uncommon vibrancy and energetic contrasts of Texas landscape. In a captivation series of small paintings, entitled The Canyon Suite, the artist clearly gives a nod to her notable female forebear, Georgia O'Keefe. In her own Canyon Series, however, Blasser offers bright, color-field interpretations of forms and colors associated with the Palo Duro countryside, and "ups the ante" on such high plains abstraction by expertly employing the ultimate, utilitarian Texas paint - the common cattle marker! Even beginning late, Blasser enjoyed a long and prosperous career. In Dallas, she was represented by noteworthy galleries including Edith Baker and DW Gallery. Her resume shows 14 solo exhibitions in her lifetime, including one-woman shows at SMU and Texas Woman's University, as well as individual shows at the Longview and Tyler museums. Likewise, her works have been included in 30 group exhibitions in institutions such as the Dallas Museum of Art and The Oklahoma Arts Center, as well as other art centers in the Dallas area (Plano, Irving, and the MAC). She was an officer and active member of the Texas Fine Arts Association, and showed regularly throughout the state in that organization's traveling exhibition series. Blasser passed in 2014.
Dimensions With Frame
H 15.5 in. x W 31.5 in. x D .75 in.
Dimensions Without Frame
H 10 in. x W 22.5 in.