New York artist Kenny Rivero is compelled to find and excavate sunken histories in order to reconstruct an imagined, coherent narrative for those hidden, subtly suggested experiences. Most often there is a specific narrative within each work, a story layered with affiliations, loyalties, psycho-social histories, and personal as well as shared iconography. Here personal history is muddled, mingled with other histories.
Although his work often begins with explorations of color, texture, and with mark making, the artist says he assembles these stories not through formal mechanics alone, rather the materials themselves—such as the sweep piles, house paint, and salvaged paper he often utilizes—possess complex identities and specific historical auras. It is representative of Rivero finding an intimate space for himself in all this sociality and layered identifications: simultaneously being and becoming American, being a musician and a maker of images, drawing on Afro-diasporic religious practices, and making them a source of play in his practice. His work is filled with visual allegories that lack a moralizing finish; characters and objects weave together to make a rye, slightly askance look at personal narrative.
About the Artist
Kenny Rivero was born and raised in Washington Heights, New York City. He received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2006 and an MFA from the Yale University School of Art in 2012. Recent residencies include the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Program, New York, NY, 2014-2015, and the Roswell Artists in Residence Program in Roswell, NM, 2015-2016. Rivero’s has exhibited his work nationally and internationally in such venues as El Museo del Barrio (New York City), the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art (Detroit, MI), the Pera Museum (Istanbul, Turkey), the Stedelijk Museum in (s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands), and Koki Arts (Tokyo, Japan). He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and is an Adjunct Professor in the Visual and Critical Studies department at the School of Visual Arts.