Ratta Fine Art Photography

We live in a Literal World.

Who The Hell Am I?

Bob Ratta | Artist’s Biography

Discovering the relationships between texture, color and form and then isolating the correspondent harmonies through composition in the camera’s lens, Bob Ratta’s photographic explorations show us the abstract universe that exists within our literal world. By presenting images to the viewer ranging from a few scant square inches from the battered steel side of a railroad freight car to the remains of a worn and weathered Wisconsin barn facade, we are shown the world as the artist sees it, an abstract universe of vibrant colors and richly detailed textures.

American Abstract Impressionists Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollack and Mark Rothko continue to serve as a source of inspiration. Many of Ratta’s photographs represent an effort to isolate marks and textures that emulate the actions and gestures of brush and paint, while other pieces attempt to immerse the viewer within broad swatches of color. At times, typographic elements, signage or other manufactured objects creep into the work, though cut and cropped into minimalist form.

Most influential is the black and white photography of Aaron Siskind whose work emphasized the photograph as an abstract form of expression. Along with photographer Harry Callahan, Siskind became a pioneer of photographic education while both he and Callahan continued to influence in the development of modern photography as fine art.

Ratta was born in Everett, Massachusetts in 1951. After graduating from Everett High School in 1969, he studied at the Rhode Island School of Design receiving a B.F.A. with Honors in 1973. He studied photography with Harry Callahan while attending RISD and though the conceptual possibilities of photography intrigued and challenged him, his inability to master chemistry-based darkroom technique was a constant source of frustration. As a result, Ratta did not take another photograph for 30 years.

With the advent of digital photography and the software-based darkroom, Ratta rekindled his love of image-making for its own sake and purchased his first digital SLR camera in 2003. An image from Wisconsin Central Hoppers, a series of black and white photographs, was selected by the Center For Railroad Photography and Art for inclusion in their Black and White Gallery the following year.

Ratta’s last public exhibition was at the Overture Center For The Arts as part of a 4-man show titled “Intuitive Abstraction” in the summer of 2006.