from selected reviews of Ray Ciarrocchi’s one-person exhibitions:
Trained in abstraction, Ray Ciarrocchi asserts a certain freedom in his approach to the composition of the landscape, to establishing color harmonies and relationships, and even to the application of paint to the canvas. He uses what he sees as the basis to paint what he wants us to see. This allows him to use elements as he sees fit to evoke a particular mood and synthesize the act of seeing and feeling with the act of painting. Remaining a painter of our time with modernist concerns, Ciarrocchi carries forward a genre of painting with a long tradition.
— Richard Waller, Contemplating the Landscapes of Ray Ciarrocchi, catalog essay
Ray Ciarrocchi continues to paint dream-like views of especially picturesque areas of upstate New York, as he has since the late 1970's. Ciarrocchi seems to have absorbed every landscape influence from Claude Lorrain to Corot to the Hudson River School to the contemporary painterly realists to arrive at sumptuous visions---half- natural, half-imagined---of the American countryside. Ciarrocchi, in short, imposes his temperament on each of his scenes, as if getting landscape "right" were all just a matter of personal vision.
— Gerrit Henry, ARTnews
Ray Ciarrocchi has been exhibiting land and occasionally cityscapes in annual solo shows for many years. Although some critics have spoken of the impressionist shimmer in Ciarrocchi's paintings, and others of his luminous color fields and even of his Abstract-Expressionist roots, for me he has always been a kind of Symbolist whose work stems indirectly from the paintings of Caspar Davis Friedrich and Frederic Edwin Church.
— Lawrence Campbell, Art in America
Ciarrocchi's rivers, creeks and wetlands function as much more than landscape features of bodies of water. They become infinitely reflective surfaces that repeat and finally bind land and sky into a landscape unity that, in the best Ciarrocchi paintings, yield a kind of spiritual essence.
— Roy Proctor, The Richmond News Leader
Ciarrocchi's bravura resides essentially in his patient investigation of a vast gamma of colors based on superimposed, almost transparent chromatic layers with a ductus in response to a given moment of light.
— Francesco Tentarelli, catalog essay
Some of the paintings in this series bring to mind the landscape backgrounds of fifteenth-century Italian pictures. As in the works of these Renaissance masters, the vistas that are opened to the viewer through the picture plane are often inaccessible; we are kept at a distance by the choice of vantage point or by the framing of the motif. But, although Ciarrocchi's landscapes are so much a product of artistic invention as Bellini's or Piero's, they also have a thoroughly contemporary concreteness. The essential character of the land that inspired them----its color and its light, its human scale and its ordered serenity----is distilled into images that recapture the emotion of a first encounter.
— Nina A. Mallory, catalog essay
In this show, the American painter Ray Ciarrocchi, laid back the essentials of the Italian countryside: the softly rounded hills, the burnt orange of farmhouse roofs, the gray-greens of olive groves, the deep green of sentinal-like cypresses. Even the heat and stillness of summer days can be felt in his bleached skies and empty valleys.
— V.G., ARTnews
Ciarrocchi improvises brilliantly on natural textures---the foliage of trees, clouds and flower-bespattered meadows. Continually, the natural edges into the Symbolist, shifting between the seen and the unseen.
— Lawrence Campbell, ARTnews
This show of oil paintings makes it evident that Ciarrocchi has been developing in both directions so that elegant composition and eloquent technique, as well as an urgency of elements, exist not only in the show as a whole, but are present in individual canvases, leaving the viewer with the sense of a powerful painterly idiom which transcends both aesthetic criteria and emotional content as it edges toward a metaphysical but unmistakable presence.
— Richard Saez, Arts Magazine
In the painting "The Piano Lesson," for example, as much of the picture is taken up by the view of low factory buildings out the window as by the details of the interior. In addition, a landscape painting rests atop the piano as the girl sits and plays. It is an apt homage to Vermeer and Matisse that confounds one's spatial comprehension by showing space within spaces, and pictures within pictures.
— Peter Frank, ARTnews