Kate Rivers constructs of layers of text, ephemera, and oil stick creating dense patterns, while exploring social and political issues. The work addresses the human compulsion to collect things that often adds meaning to our lives reflecting past memories and events. Rivers gathers material from garage or estate sales, and second-hand stores, posters from urban areas, and items from daily life. Some of the materials that she uses are a variety of maps, old typed or hand-written letters, canceled postage stamps and clothing tags. Clothing tags are especially seductive because they are well designed and suggest issues of class and the compulsion to collect. In addition she incorporates items of whimsy and reflections of the everyday. Often, “I feel like a voyeur looking into the lives of others long past and reflecting on those lives.”
Rivers, a lover of books, constructs her unique collages using book spines, ephemera and oil sticks. She works with color and texture creating large wall pieces sewn together with metallic thread on an industrial sewing machine and mounts these large collages on to canvas.
Sometimes they look like crowded book shelves stacked to the brim or a wonderful contemporary abstract using blocks of color. The artist weaves and sews upcycled materials from her personal collection. The work addresses the human compulsion to collect. She restores that which may have been forgotten and/or discarded that may stir memories. Impermanence and time passed, the artist often reflects on lives that touched these pieces of cultural ephemera and explores new connections. “The stories we read and the stories we hear; these stories make up the vision of who we are and how we relate to others.” The act of construction and deconstruction engages a dialogue between the artist and the work being created.
Kate Rivers is a professional artist living and working in Santa Fe New Mexico. She was born in Youngstown, Ohio, graduated from Columbus College of Art and Design and earned an MFA in Painting and Printmaking at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. After teaching at the collegiate level in Oklahoma, Kate Rivers left a tenured position in order to work as a full time artist in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Her work can be found in public collections at The Baatan Building in Santa Fe, UNM, Central New Mexico Community College, Eastern New Mexico University, USAO in Oklahoma, University of Texas at Austin and many private collections throughout the United States.