Open Source Gallery presents Provincia, a site-specific installation by Tomás Rivas.
Provincia refers to a hill in the Andes that is visible from the central valley of Santiago in Chile. In historical terms, the word “provincial” also denotes the conquered territory of the Roman Empire outside of Italy. Provincia aims to draw attention to the relationship between local and global culture, as well as to the modes in which images and spaces are consumed and read in a mestizo context, such as in the United States. Tomás Rivas’s work investigates the ornamental components of classical Western architecture. At Open Source, the artist has chosen to focus on decorative details that are considered marginal in the context of these monumental structures. Rivas will use a wide range of cultural connotations to produce a new work that will integrate wall drawings, paper drawings and objects for a total transformation of the space.
Rivas’s work explores genealogical tensions between two and three dimensional systems, fluctuating between drawing, sculpture and architecture. Playing with linear perspective, ornamentation, and unorthodox materials, Rivas investigates how the viewer’s cultural expectations frame their perception. His installations are based on a process of carving, hollowing out and exposing the exterior layers of plaster or wallpaper covered walls. His research into the complexities of space have taken him to--quite literally--dig up historical foundations of monument and ornament as expanded architectural forms. His references to antiquity are playful ruminations on the sources of Western architecture, asking us to consider how those roots are appropriated and recontextualized throughout cultural history. He attempts to expose the cultural charge embodied in certain forms and styles, and the power they radiate. The potency of Rivas’s work is embedded in the contrast between ornamental forms identified with elitist, Western ideals of beauty and the unconventional treatment of “low” and perishable materials such as thread, plaster boards, paper, plastic and lard.
Tomás Rivas (b. 1975, Santiago de Chile) one of the founders of Taller Bloc in Santiago, Chile. Rivas earned a BFA and a post-baccalaureate degree from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. As an undergraduate, he received a Università degli Studi di Genova Scholarship to pursue Italian studies. While in Italy, he worked in Milan as a printmaking apprentice. He later attended the University of Notre Dame where he completed his MFA in sculpture. In 2012 Rivas had a Visiting Assistant Professor appointment at the University of Notre Dame. Currently he teaches at Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago. His work has been exhibited at Museo de Artes Visuales (Chile), Margaret Lawrence Gallery (Australia), Saatchi Gallery (UK), Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton (France) and the Museum of Art and Design (US) among many others.