Map of my Heart
September 4, 2017 - September 30, 2017
Mario de Rivera
Makati Shangri-La, Manila
MARIO DE RIVERA: “MAP OF MY HEART”
With his unfailing gift for bestowing evocative and poetic titles on his shows and artworks – “Silence of Centuries,” “Hardin Botanico,” “People of Heaven,” “Nuestro Eden Perdido,” ”Songs from the River” – Mario de Rivera, in his current show organized by Hiraya Gallery, transports us once again to a nether region of the imagination, into a geography of memory and emotions. Welcome to De Rivera’s “Map of my Heart.”
In every visit to a De Rivera show, it’s as if an image bank had split open, whence emerges an opulence of a fabulous scenery, a veritable tapestry of pictorial memories drawn from a well of antiquity and contemporary pop temper. When De Rivera first burst onto the scene in the late Seventies, then sweeping into the Eighties, he struck an immediate chord with his audience, possibly because our eyes were parched for images that had been vanished, dismissed, demonized by the prevailing abstract art which was on the upswing, buoyed up by cultural institutions but actually impelled by the ruling personal sensibility.
Of De Rivera’s fecund offering of images of the past, one remembers, in particular, the exotic brown maidens, with skin the color of burnt terra cotta, like earthen daughters of Mona Lisa, whose visages looked directly at the audience with a wistful but calculated look. De Rivera’s paintings were spangled with images torn from the pages of history, each pictorial content totally divergent from the other, separated by a gulf of centuries and continents – Byzantine and Renaissance and Japanese ukiyo-e merging in an operatic and fantastical world. De Rivera weaves them all in a tangled chorus, sailing on a raft enriched by gleaming gold leaf. One would describe each work as “an eye-full.” The retina is caressed and seduced by an overwhelming cascade of images blossoming into disparate narratives which the mind spins into its own fabulist tales.
Eminent critic Alice Guillermo wrote of De Rivera’s “sumptuous imagery…showing the rich confluence of cultures…where traditions co-mingle…converging the artist’s faith in the essential unity of humankind…that cultures from all parts of the globe participate in a universal discourse and contribute to commonly shared meanings.”
In “Map of My Heart,” Mario de Rivera’s art has not lost a beat, with the passage of time burnishing the artist’s visual eloquence. And unfailingly, each work is a revelation to be savored and treasured.