Fairfield University's Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery presents "Emptiness," a Michael Rivera sculpture exhibit


"Emptiness," a dynamic Michael Rivera sculpture exhibit opens at the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery in the Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University on Sunday, June 17 and will continue at the gallery until Sunday, July 29. The Walsh Art Gallery hours are, Sunday from Noon to 4 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. There will be an opening reception at the gallery on June 17 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Michael Rivera sculpture"Nature has been the point of departure for my sculpture," says artist Michael Rivera, "and, although I am still in tune with the natural world, I have begun to incorporate human nature and thought. I am deeply interested in man's potential for greatness and potential for destruction."

In this exhibit, the artist's medium is steel because, as he says, "it is a way for me to pay homage to modern artists (like Pablo Picasso), the Iron Age, weapons, tools, the Industrial Revolution, machinery and bridges." For this accomplished artist, "The repetitive actions of welding, cutting and bending steel for hours on end help clear my mind of extraneous thought and provide the experience of Zen Buddhist meditation." With this articulate description of his deepest creative impulses, Michael Rivera's world of "Emptiness" explodes into tangibility with the fullness of letting go.

"Pipe Dream," exemplifies the artist's fluency with steel. In this piece, Rivera demonstrates an uncanny ability to create a graceful expression of texture and movement while managing to incorporate an element of nominal whimsy.

In discussing the impact his work has on the viewer, Rivera has said that his artistic goal is "to engage the viewer through movement, color, scale, and repetition of surface. It is important that my hand is visible in the work of art." His fascination with the construction of nature is a strong visual stimulus reflected in his work. "When I look at a leaf's structure, I see how its individual components connect and this visual pattern or structure is what I use as a model for my sculpture," he continues.

Michael Rivera sculptureIn addition to "Emptiness," Rivera's work is currently on exhibit in a Connecticut gallery group show and juried exhibits in Connecticut and The Berkshires. He received his Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture, Summa Cum Laude in 2004 from Purchase College, SUNY Purchase and his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Syracuse University in 1995. He has been recognized with numerous awards and a graduate fellowship at Purchase College. His paintings appear in the Print Collections of New Mexico State University and Syracuse University and his sculpture, paintings and collages appear in many private collections.

In his continuing search for a better understanding of man's relationship to the world and to each other, Rivera embraces his ongoing role as a student of history, political theory, philosophy, psychology and religion. Although, always a curious observer ready to immerse himself in knowledge, the birth of his daughter has propelled him to, as he says, "take on the world of human thought, interaction and its relationship to nature because I owe it to my family and myself to be intellectually active in this dialogue."

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on May 17, 2007

Vol. 39, No. 224