Rita Myers is an artist whose work spans performance, installation, photography, and writing. She attended Douglass College, Rutgers University and received her BA in 1969 with High Honors in her major of Fine Arts. At Douglass she studied with John Goodyear, Geoff Hendricks, and Peter Stroud. In 1970, she moved to New York City to pursue graduate studies in Fine Arts at Hunter College, City University of New York. There, she studied with Robert Morris, Linda Nochlin and Vincent Longo. She earned her MA in 1974.
While in graduate school, Myers was one of a small cadre of artists who began exploring video as a new tool to be used in creating their performance pieces and installations. Her performance work of the early 1970s involved mediated encounters with her own body, often guided by the closed-circuit capabilities of video technology. Slow Squeeze, documenting one such performance from 1973, was included in the millennial exhibition, The American Century: Art & Culture 1950–2000, Whitney Museum of American Art.
Beginning in 1975 with Investigations/Observations, her early installations utilized pre-recorded video and audio to introduce layers of commentary into what were otherwise pedestrian settings, inviting audiences to take on a participatory role. By 1981, her installations had evolved into large-scale, highly theatrical, and metaphorical environments. With The Allure of the Concentric in 1985, this direction becomes fully realized. Originally shown at the Whitney Museum, this work was included in two landmark exhibitions, American Landscape Video: The Electronic Grove, Carnegie Museum of Art in 1988, and Video-Skulptur Retrospektiv und Aktuell 1963–1989, Kölnischer Kunstverein in Köln, Germany.
Works from this period fuse multiple video sources, text, and sound with sculptural and natural forms, using time-based media to expand the contours of the space into other states and rhythms of being. Juxtaposing elements of landscape and architecture, these formalized, symbolic spaces function as contemplative sites that resonate with evocations of the ritualistic and the mystical. Drawing on sources that range from physics and Jungian psychology to magic and alchemy, and integrating archetypal objects with iconic imagery from nature, these works invoke the mythological and the spiritual, and in Myers’ words, seek to discover "the ways in which ancient archetypes survive as the foundation for current images of reality."
Her last installation, Resurrection Body, created in 1993, returns to the body as the locus of meaning, mediated now by interactive technologies and giving rise to images that elicit not only shared cultural references but also personal memory. In 2003, this work was included in the Twentieth Anniversary Retrospective Exhibition, World Wide Video Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
In 1995, Myers changed course entirely and accepted a position as Design Manager with Alexander Design Associates, a boutique graphic design firm in Lower Manhattan, where she directed both print and interactive communications. In 2003, she became Executive Design Manager at Macmillan McGraw-Hill. She also moved to Philadelphia, PA in 2003, and ran her own graphic design firm there from 2007 to 2019, offering branding and marketing strategies to clients ranging from non-profits to Fortune 500 companies. Examples of her design work can be found at https://web.archive.org/web/20230321182429/http://www.ritamyers.com/#/.
In 2005, an enormous snowfall in Philadelphia prompted Myers to venture into the nearby Wissahickon Park, where she discovered again her reverence for the natural world and an array of new images. This encounter resulted in a series of photographic works based on seasonal cycles. She has gone on to create other photographic series, often arising from everyday encounters with nature. Her latest series, Fusions: Mis Dos Paisajes, juxtaposes images from the landscapes of the states of Pennsylvania in the U.S. and Jalisco in Mexico.
Myers has also returned to the written word. The presence of a textual component was often central to her installations, whether in the form of a long narrative arc or as intermittent voiced phrases deployed throughout the space. The new work explores various forms of memoir, lyrical poetry, and visual poetry.
Myers is the recipient of many awards, including fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Artists' Public Services (CAPS), the New York State Council on the Arts, the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, and the Jerome Foundation. In 1983, she was inducted into the Douglass Society for Distinguished Achievement.
She has taught at numerous institutions, including the Cooper Union School of Art in New York City, Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, and The University of Hartford, School of Art in Hartford, CT.
She currently resides in Philadelphia and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with her wife, Bonnie Strahs.