Ray Burggraf

Ray Burggraf


Emeritus Faculty, Department of Art

Areas of Teaching

Painting, Drawing

Artist Biography

A lifetime of travel and study gives Ray Burggraf’s work a rich, universal perspective.  He was born in Ohio in 1938, a time when powerful changes were transforming rural America. Burggraf grew up on an Ohio farm and then attended the Cleveland Institute of Art where he worked with painters influenced by the German Bauhaus movement of the 30’s and Op Art of the 60’s that helped shape his artistic style. He received the BFA degree in 1968.

From Cleveland, Ray went to California and UC Berkeley where he developed his interest in Bauhaus style color theory and gradations of color, encouraged by the unique California sunlight. He received both the MA and MFA degrees from Berkeley in 1970.

Arriving in Florida, Ray taught painting and color theory at Florida State University. After 37 years, he retired to Professor Emeritus status in 2007. He continues to paint and exhibit his work and maintains a studio in the popular Railroad Square Art Park. His work continues to reflect a farmer’s affinity for the land, a Californian’s appreciation of light and color, and a Floridian’s experience of atmospheric and oceanic moods.

For more information: Burggraf’s biography can be found on Wikipedia. Examples of his recent national pubic art projects are at FSU in the Student Wellness Center and the Psychology Building. He is also listed in The New Encyclopedia e 21: Art, by Judith H. Bonner, UNC Press, 2013, as “contributing to our understanding of southern landscape.”

Artist Statement

My abstract paintings and color constructions highlight Earth’s light and atmosphere. With glowing jewel-like colors, smooth gradations emerge to evoke the grandeur of breathtaking vistas. Thoughts of oceans and the blazes of sunsets burst into creation from acrylic paintings on thin, sinuously-shaped panels of wood. They are a succession of linked landscape scenes remembered.

Florida coastal environs and perhaps even beach-culture airbrush art are strongly reflected in my work. Precise color gradations are my signature; they are hand brushed rather than sprayed. Visual excitement flows like music and builds like progressive architectural morphology. Here, technique and theory work together to bring the language of modernist abstraction into the realm of contemporary landscape.

Currently on display in the Turnbull Conference Center:

Learn more about Ray Burggraf’s Work