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John A. Rivas: La Nueva Fotos

Weekends Dec. 7, 2019 - Jan. 12, 2020 (closed Dec. 28-29)
Opening reception Saturday, December 7th | 6-9pm

haul gallery is pleased to announce La Nueva Fotos, by John A. Rivas, the artist’s first solo show. 

John Rivas’​ paintings are primarily influenced by his family. Working from an archive of personal photos, he depicts his upbringing in a Latino household and community. Incorporating found objects near his home in Newark, NJ – and often painting in the living room of his family’s apartment – Rivas constructs a narrative of familial bonds and cultural signifiers, using portraiture as his scaffolding. For La Nueva Fotos, Rivas is showing a collection of photograph-based collage, a first for the young artist. While much of his previous painting begins with a family photo for reference, this is the first time where the photograph is a fundamental visual ingredient. The works on view are small-scale, black and white prints layered with delicate marks of colorful paint, handwritten text, and cut-outs. His treatment of faces and familial bonds mirror those of his larger-scale paintings. 

Rivas’ most persistent theme is the depiction of intimate moments shared with family and friends. He approaches emotion and shared love in a straightforward and genuine way. His treatment of faces and skin within these works is caring and visceral – the brushstrokes reflect how one might touch the face of their loved-one, instead of focusing on its visual accuracy. He also uses text within his work, captioning moments for further context, while simultaneously blending it into the surface of the work. Alongside the smaller photo-based works, Rivas is exhibiting only one painting in this show: Que Vivas Para Siempre a large group family portrait depicting his grandmother’s 68th birthday celebration.

John A. Rivas (b. 1997 Newark, NJ) holds a BFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts. He is currently an MFA candidate at the Columbia School for the Arts. Past exhibitions include group shows at Thierry Goldberg Gallery, Ross+Kramer Gallery, Latchkey Gallery, Re: Art Show, and haul gallery. 

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