Current student John Rivas '21 at Ross+Kramer Gallery

Current Student John Rivas Featured in New York Exhibit this Winter

BY Audrey Deng, December 16, 2019

Current student John Rivas is currently in a two-person show with February James at Ross+Kramer Gallery in New York. Titled double trouble, this show is curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah.

The show links the two artists based on their proclivity for rendering the figure in a way that cultivates a dialogue about identity, memory, family trauma, and negating stereotypes.

According to the gallery, “While the artists’ singular voices flow together in their figural distortion and ‘from the gut’ authenticity, they exist in separate universes. Rivas’ universe feels sculptural, consisting of speedy, thick brushstrokes and three- dimensional elements adhered to the canvas...The artistic exchange [between Rivas and James] yielded unique body of work...The creative tête- à-tête enables the viewer to plunge rapidly into a new understanding of figural surrealism that can be quickly summarized by the title of the show: Double Trouble⁠—two artists overcoming personal challenges and establishing themselves in the art world.”

Rivas, who is from Newark, is a figurative painter whose narrative is guided by the stories of his ancestors. As a first generation American, Rivas’ artwork is enriched with tales of family members many of whom he’s met remotely or through photographs.

According to the LatchKey Gallery, where Rivas has also shown work, “The artist attributes the frenetic, raw energy of his work to the long history of hard-working family members.”

In a comment, Rivas said,“Roughness and edges (of my work) comes from my family of farmers, family of construction workers- I know what it is to be under the sun, working, sweating I know how it feels, I am a dirty kid but I can make beauty out of anything.”

double trouble closes January 10, 2020.