Northwest Passage No 10 Rick Rivet

Year
2019
Medium
Acrylic on Canvas
Size
44 × 46 inches
111.76 × 116.84 cm

Northwest Passage No 10 memorializes the loss of a once treacherous and skill-defining traverse and draws attention to the numerous fool-hardy attempts to navigate it by arrogant colonialist explorers who disregarded the survival methods of the local people assuming their knowledge was inherently superior. The hubris of this attitude resulted in the unnecessary loss of numerous lives. The Franklin expedition, pictured here, was an 1845 British envoy that set out ill-prepared and resultantly lost the lives 129 officers and men. Depicted in composite perspective indicating different world views, the large British ship is shown in sepia-toned profile in the top half of the painting and a lithely designed Inuit vessel is pictured from ariel perspective in the bottom half. The sepia-coloured line snaking through the bloodied red waters of the passage in the bottom half indicates the path not taken and the unnecessarily tragic end of an expedition. The Northwest Passage, no longer narrow, treacherous, or skill-defining has widened due to global warming now allowing tourist ships to glide through thus contributing to increased pollution and wear and tear on an already fragile eco system. The painting reflects on our shared history and our cumulative amnesia-like inability to harness past errors in judgement into future-forward, long-term healing initiatives. Richard James Rivet was born in the remote area of Aklavik in the Northwest Territories of Canada in 1949, though he has recently moved to Belleville, ON. 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, Rivet's Indigenous roots, and his experience in growing up in Canada's North, have been important factors in his development as an artist. Since 1989, Rivet has worked fulltime on his artwork, mainly concentrating in acrylic painting, mixed media and collage on canvas, with some drawing. 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). 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 Indigenous peoples in a contemporary perspective. Earlier works challenged the history and mentality of colonialism while later works explore the journey of the human spirit. Rivet's approach is introspective, involving the existential nature of being - the spiritual, the psychic and the physical aspects of human experience. Rivet has four degrees from three universities. 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 art is exhibited nationally and internationally.

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