Richard James Rivet

Canadian Artist

Richard James Rivet was born in the remote area of Aklavik in the Northwest Territories of Canada in 1949. Aklavik is situated at about 68 degrees north latitude in the Mackenzie River Delta, well above the Arctic Circle in the Beaufort Sea area.
His early years were spent growing up in the delta in a Metis family which made their living by trapping, hunting and fishing.

Of Metis background, Rick Rivet's Native Canadian roots, and his experience in growing up close to the land in Canada's North, have been important factors in his development as an artist.

In addition to receiving a Master's degree in Fine Arts from the University of Saskatchewan, Rick has been the recipient of over twenty awards, scholarships and bursaries, including a Fellowship from the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, and the Andy Warhol Foundation Fellowship Residency Program for the Heard Museum in Phoenix Arizona.

His post-secondary education concentrated on art, history, and the humanities. He has four degrees from three universities.

Since 1989 he has worked fulltime on his artwork, mainly concentrating in acrylic painting, mixed media and collage on canvas, with some drawing. His art is exhibited nationally and internationally.

Influences in his artwork are varied and derive from Shamanistic imagery of ancient peoples the world over (North American Indian, Inuit, Australian Aborigine, Norse, Oceanic, Siberian and so forth). Equally influential are Western and Contemporary influences from various artists and art movements ( such as: Edvard Munch, German Expressionism, Abstract Expressionism, Antoni Tapies, and Paterson Ewen to name a few).

His work involves combining and re-interpreting the iconography of various aboriginal peoples in a contemporary perspective. Earlier works explored the beliefs, rituals and traditions of cultures, through figures, masks, drums, pictographs, and the talismans and symbols of shamanism, while challenging the history and mentality of colonialism. Later works explore the journey of the human spirit in a series of acrylic paintings featuring burial mounds, canoes, medicine wheels, and cosmic events, in the dream- like images of a non-objective/semi-abstracted visual language. The art is intuitive, expressionistic and individualistic in means and method. The approach is Expressionist/Primitivist with concerns related to aspects of his Native-Canadian reality and viewpoint. The approach is introspective, involving the existential nature of being - the spiritual, the psychic and the physical aspects of human experience.

His art explores mark-making, colour, shape, texture, line, volume, figure-ground interaction and other formal relationships; paint and collage as part of process; draughtsmanship within painting and by itself; graphic qualities from printmaking experience; symbolic imagery in a contemporary context; and various other elements of visual art as language/process.

In his art he seeks poetic expression - a visual language which uses the visible universe as a metaphor for the invisible. The context is the human existential journey; the on-going history of the human spirit.