Artist Profile | Jack Rivas

Dedalus Foundation
Nov 4, 2015 8:51PM

                         Twofold: Artist -Teacher, Teacher - Artist

Jack Rivas

MS 821/Sunset Prep, MS 136 Charles Dewey and Sunset Park HS/SPHS
Brooklyn, NY

Jack Rivas was born in Nicaragua from parents of Irish, German, and French backgrounds. He received his M.F.A from Parsons School of Design in 1997 and his B.F.A from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1994. Solo exhibitions include, Fen Gallery and The Front, New Orleans. Group exhibitions include 69 Mercer, New York; Artists Alliance Louisiana; Resonant Wave, Germany; 678 Broadway Space, New York; La Collectiva. France; The Collective Unconscious Theater, New York; Castelli Gallery, New York; Parsons School Of Design Gallery, New York; Gratis Floating Gallery, Spain; and University of Louisiana Gallery Museum, Lafayette, LA.  In addition, Jack has featured his video, installations, and performances on New York City Time Warner Manhattan Neighbor Network from 1995 to 2000. His work has been published in Studio Visit Vol. I by Open Studio Press. His work is in several private collections in California, Florida, Louisiana, New York, Texas, Amsterdam, Montreal, Bogotá, Istanbul, and Nicaragua. Jack currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

"Untitled" #2, 2015, acrylic and watercolor on paper, 18 x 28 in.

How do you see the relationship between your art and your teaching?

I see it as a stubborn, dysfunctional, and beautiful love affair. A relationship where no matter how much you try to clearly articulate ideas, processes, or concepts to young minds, it will always do what it wants to do and no outcome is quite same. This conundrum in itself makes it a beautiful, rewarding, and fun experience. It’s very sweet to witness that crucial moment when listening or watching young minds wrestle with visual self-expressions and how it re-invigorates and gives me a sense of purpose and responsibility as an artist. Whether it’s in the classroom or studio space, the generosity, flexibility, chaos, risk taking, excitement, frustration, patience, innocence, unpredictability, and distractions will always be there, sometimes working well together in harmony or against each other. I’ve always been intrigued by the reciprocal and transformative nature of teacher and learner especially when the reversal of those roles manifests. Teaching has taught me to set creative parameters and realistic goals and I’ve come to realize how important they are when making art. And last but not least, identity, with all its multi-layers, has been the driving force in my art and surprisingly, it has been interesting to see how it has become more relevant during my teaching practices as well. I often challenge students and myself to try to let go of any kind of judgments or pre-conceived notions of what art should be and why it’s relevant when discovering a vibrantly unique and authentic visual language.  

“Untitled” #6, 2014, acrylic and watercolor on paper, 18 x 12 in.

“Untitled” #3, 2015, acrylic and watercolor on paper, 18 x 28 in.

“Untitled” #5, 2014, acrylic and watercolor on paper, 18 x 12 in.



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