Kenny Rivero, As My Sins Flow Down The Hudson
For the 2017 SPRING/BREAK Art Show, Kenny Rivero will introduce visitors to his Dominican American childhood through a series of paintings, diaristic drawings, and a site-specific installation of accumulated personal debris. His narrative is based in both reality and fiction and his coded iconography, while an enigma to most viewers, is somewhat decipherable to those who have shared his history.
In his paintings, hovering numbers and letters make cryptic allusions to relatives and friends; his drawings refer to childhood heroes like Batman, Superman, and Voltron; and throughout his body of work, Rivero pays homage to the athletes that inspired him, the neighborhood that raised him and the family that loved him. His assembled installations of salvaged materials may contain sweep piles, house paint and salvaged paper. Often some of this material becomes collaged elements in his paintings and supports for his drawings. According to Rivero, “As a child, I would intentionally hack away at my bedroom wall to reveal evidence of the apartment’s past lives and imagine the stories linked to the colors I would find. Paint chips from the apartment I grew up in are a common material in my work and my practice owes a great deal to the physical evidence of history and memory”.
In his artist statement, Rivero states, “My goal is to excavate and reconstruct the histories and identities I have been conditioned to understand as absolute, in order to develop new ways to intimately engage the world. I explore ideas of Dominican-American identity, socio-geographic solidarity, cultural and familial expectations, race, and masculinity. I am also interested in how these various cultural and social vantage points inform my role, historically, as an artist making images.”