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Christopher Rivera

Rivera is a contemporary painter residing and working in Tallahassee Florida. His artistic practice uses paint to investigates his relationship with screen media and popular culture. As an only child in a single-parent household, he draws from the hours spent in his formative years on television and computer media. He pulls from his experience of being a person of color to examine how spectacle is packaged and represented within popular culture and media industries. Rivera views painting as a process of hundreds of micro examinations condensed into a single moment, the sum of these observations being the product, and the work he produces reflects this ideology. The work references found images and video stills, reproducing this collective dynamic into a cacophony of layers and strokes of paint. These references range from art-historical to cartoons like Heman. The iconography comes from sources such as social media logos, entertainment and food advertisements, historical popular culture ephemera, and other Americana and internet culture. In previous work, Rivera arranged modular panels painted with bits of iconography, designed to be reconfigured in larger compositions. This body of work uses a wide array of application materials like paint rollers and oil sticks to heighten a sense of disorientation mirroring effects created by contemporary media. Rivera pairs expressive brushwork against moments of traditional realism to question authenticity and identity with paint. In his recent body of work, Rivera uses video stills of classic wrestling matches as references for paintings. These paintings frame kinetic bodies in motion suggest tension, weight, and theatricality. In the paintings, he draws inspiration from wrestlings’ dissonant, multi-layered form of pantomime to mirror that process back onto a canvas in paint strokes. The artist is interested in the sports complicated relationship to “layers of reality” and how that can be used to convey the layers of a subject's psyche and through proxy, the viewer’s. His work explores the complex relationship with how much needs to be articulated with paint against how much can be promised to viewers because of the material’s ability to suggest. Sometimes the opposite question is asked, how much material can be added and still retain a resemblance of something readable.

Rivera was invited to show work at Daytona State College (2018) and recently exhibited a solo show at the Tallahassee Airport Gallery entitled, Batteries Not Included (2019), and participated in Artfields 2021.

Rivera received his BFA with a focus in painting from the University of Central Florida (2017) and is currently a Spring 2021 Masters of Fine Art candidate at Florida State University.