Elise Rugolo is a mixed-media painter who celebrates the physicality of her artwork through an exploration of various media and layering of imagery. Her paintings are abstract, with references to natural and man-made structures. Her use of pattern and rhythm, as well as a calligraphic style of mark making and brushstrokes, is suggestive of dance or motion borne out of a sense of urgency. She often combines both geometric and organic forms in a painting. She does not shy away from color, and generally favors a vivid and expressive palette.

Her father, Lawrence Rugolo, was a talented fine artist, designer, and art professor. He was her earliest influence in her creative development. A printmaker, he sometimes cut up his extra silkscreen prints and refigured them into collaged pieces--a process that has been engrained in her own work, as she often includes collage elements within her compositions. In some of her recent encaustic paintings, the collage elements are so deeply embedded in the wax that they lose their original identity, adding an elusive, mysterious quality to the image.

Elise has an MFA in painting and drawing from Arizona State University and received her BFA in painting from the University of Iowa. In keeping with her love of motion, she has lived all over the USA, before returning to her hometown of Columbia, Missouri, in 2015. Her work has been in numerous juried and invitational shows. She offers workshops and private classes in mixed media and the encaustic technique (contact her for information regarding scheduling a class or workshop). 

Curriculum Vitae


•Recalibrations, Solo Exhibition of New Monotypes, Orr Street Studios Gallery, Columbia, MO, November, 2023.
•Fusion 2020: Encaustic Art of Elise Rugolo and Students, Montminy Gallery, Columbia, MO, June-September, 2020
• Restraint and Limitation, George Caleb Bingham Gallery, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, Sept. 25 to Oct. 19, 2017.  Traveling exhibition. Curator: Matt Ballou
• Parallels: A Father-Daughter Retrospective, Montminy Gallery, Columbia, MO, January-April, 2017.
• Early Summer Exhibition, Sager Braudis Gallery, Columbia, MO, June-July, 2016.
• Solo Exhibition at Orr Street Studios Exhibition Space, Columbia, MO, March-April, 2016.
•True/False Film Fest Art Exhibit, "Off the Trail," Imago Gallery, Columbia, MO, January 2016.
Art Beat, Invitational Exhibition, Shady Side Academy, Pittsburgh, PA, May 2013.
New Work by Gallery Artists, Summer 2012, Concept Art Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA.               
Touch Me Please, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, 2010, Juror: Eric Shiner
150 Candles: AAP + FGP, Juried Fiber Art Exhibition, Christine Fréchard Gallery, 2010, Pittsburgh, PA.
New Work, Christine Fréchard Gallery, February 30, 2010-March 5, 2010. Pittsburgh, PA.
Traces of Living Things: New Work by Elise Rugolo and Adrienne Borkowski, The Framery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 2009.
• Small Works, Short Films, Big Ideas, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 2009, Jurors: Brian Lang and Gordon Nelson.
• Westmoreland Museum of American Art Biennial, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, 2008, Juror: William Rudolph.
• 85th Annual Spring Show, Erie Museum of Art, Erie, Pennsylvania, 2008, Juror: Dave Hickey.
• Associated Artists of Pittsburgh 97th Annual Exhibition, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 2007-2008, Juror: Polly Apfelbaum.
• Intersection: Life/Art, Art Loft, Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, 2007.
• Associated Artists of Pittsburgh 96th Annual Exhibition, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 2006-2007, Juror: Douglas Fogle. Purchase Award.
 Jefferson County Artists, Gallery on the Main, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, 2005.
• 2005 Mary Hoard Art Show, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, First Place Award, Professional Division.
• The Nude, Gallery on the Main, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, 2004.
• The Mediated Image, Crossman Gallery, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 2003.
• Collage/Montage/Assemblage International Competition, The Stage Gallery, Merrick, New York, 2003.
• Solo Exhibition, Olson Gallery, Cambridge, Wisconsin, 2002.
• 2002 Mary Hoard Art Show, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, First Place Award, Professional Division.
• It’s in the Genes, Columbia Art League, Columbia, Missouri, 2001.
• Dark Vision II National Art Exhibition, Dark’s Art Parlour, North Hollywood, California, 1997.
• River Market Regional Exhibition, Kansas City Artists Coalition, Kansas City, Missouri, 1996, Juror: Richard Armstrong.
• 1994 Stateline Vicinity Exhibition, Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, Illinois, 1994, Jurors: Henry Moy and Bill Butler.
• The Figure, Invitational Exhibition, La Galleria Del Conte, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1994.
• Savannah National Collectors’ Choice, City Market Art Center, Savannah, Georgia, 1993, Juror: Ray Ellis.
• 23rd Bradley National Print and Drawing Exhibition, Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois, 1991, Juror: Frances Myers.
• 24th Southwestern Exhibition, Yuma Art Center, Yuma, Arizona, 1990, Juror: Ned Rifkin.
• National Juried Competition, Eleven East Ashland Gallery, Phoenix, Arizona, 1990.

Arizona State University, MFA in Painting and Drawing.
University of Iowa, BFA in Painting.

Drawing I, Adjunct Faculty, Department of Art, College of Arts and Communications, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 2003-2004.

Various Encaustic and Mixed-Media Classes and Workshops (Pittsburgh, PA and Columbia, MO)

Concept Art Gallery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Sager Reeves Gallery, Columbia, Missouri

R&F (Providing Encaustic Demos in Stores, Academic Institutions)
Fair Share Artists
Fluid Media Artists' Collective

Fox Rothschild, LLP
Fort Atkinson Memorial Hospital
Pittsburgh Public Schools
Talisman Energy
West Penn Hospital
Dr. Marcia Kass

Donor Recognition Wall, Dwight Foster Public Library, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
National Dairy Shrine, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin


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