Artist Statement 2014
My career as an artist began in the 70s in Philadelphia. Continuing through 1983 I collaborated with many arts organizations in and around that area to create site-specific sculptures, festival environments and installations throughout the area. My work was exhibited in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, West Chester State College, The Institute of Contemporary Art and several Philadelphia galleries.
I have completed various private and public commissions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. I was commissioned to create two exterior works for the new Philadelphia Police Department Forensic Science Center. The range of projects extend from a hanging indoor work to a massive exterior wall mural weighing seven tons. The outdoor works are made of steel and aluminum and painted in a wide variety of expressive colors.
I have regularly exhibited in group shows and have had solo exhibitions in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. Reviews have appeared in The New York Times and New York Daily News. I was an artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem and was invited to participate in the 25th Anniversary Exhibition at El Museo del Barrio in New York City and the 30-year retrospective of the Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia.
My recent works are based on the impressions of ironies and contradictions I find in life and nature. Personal relationships, current events, music and the natural world fuel the attitude and makeup of my sculptures, wall pieces and works on paper. I conceive and develop these iconic abstractions combining a variety of materials with a relationship of colors. Also included occasionally are ready-made and natural objects. These combinations reflect and convey the issues and ideas of my experiences as I react to the influences of those ironies and contradictions.
A winter trip to Arizona inspired the series of cactus sculptures and watercolors.Their variety and vivid seasonal colors with the stinging thorns formed a natural paradox which I explored through hand, pear and monolith shapes. They became painted objects interacting with themselves. These works led to my interest of using the vast Painted Desert in an imagery that relates to the language of traditional painting. The painter’s palette pieces that I'm involved with now can express ironic vocabularies of context, texture, scale and transformation.
© 2017 Bob Rivera