Maria Rivans

Maria Rivans is a contemporary British artist, known for her
scrapbook-style collage aesthetic. A mash-up of Surrealism meets
Pop-Art, Rivans’s work re-appropriates vintage ephemera to create
dreamy realms, which transport the viewer into fantastical worlds
of the imaginary, each one suffused with vivid colour, arresting
imagery, intricate detail, and finished with a dusting of subtle
Rivans studied 3D design at the University of Brighton, before
turning to jewellery design and setting up her own workshop. But
an aptitude for the visual arts was in her blood: growing up with her
Italian family in Essex, hours of her childhood were devoted to
drawing and doodling, listening to music, covering her bedroom
walls with film and pop heroes, while she soaked up the televisual
culture that would come to form her greatest influence.
The visual artists who have defined Rivans’ work include: Max
Ernst; Frida Kahlo; Robert Rauschenberg; Richard Hamilton; David
Hockney; Sarah Lucas; and Tracey Emin. Yet her influences are
not limited to the visual arts: music, film and fashion have helped
define her aesthetic, with the likes of David Bowie, Vivienne
Westwood, Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch having a huge
impact on her practice.
Rivans’ artwork is known for its unique approach to collaging.
Intertwining different film and TV genres – from vintage Hollywood,
to 1970s sci-fi, B-movies and TV trash – Rivans’ work is in a
constant dialogue with cultures of the past, reinventing existing film
plots and narratives, while spinning bizarre and dreamlike tales.
Her use of collage reflects the complex and fragmented world from
which the art arises, but an attention to beauty and to harmony of
composition gestures optimistically towards the social capacity to
piece it back together again. In her pin-up series, Rivans reclaims
iconic femininity to champion female strength; her exotic and
escapist works are often laced with ominous undertones, to remind
us of the darker side of human nature; utopian imagery from 1950s
pop-culture speaks to today’s obsession with consumerism; while
a persistent love of sci-fi illustrates the fact that Rivans’ work is
always a meditation on the greater question of ‘life, the universe,
and everything’.
Rivans’ process begins with her extensive collection of vintage
ephemera, which she scavenges from antique books and retro
magazines, always on the look-out for that perfect ‘something’ in
second-hand shops and at market stalls. Like piecing together an
unruly jigsaw puzzle, Rivans begins to collate and assemble the
skilfully cut-out fragments and scraps, labouring over long periods
and making alteration after alteration, until the collage begins to
take shape. Through an intense attention to detail and an artistic
sensitivity to colour and composition, each of Rivans’ artworks is
the product of months of careful deliberations and decisions, every
tiny tweak necessary in the final formation. Rivans’ work takes the
form of both large-scale originals and limited edition prints, and
notable series’ have included: pin-ups; landscapes; film stills; and
3D box collages.
Maria works from her studio in Brighton: a kooky building, purpose
built as a small cinema in 1911. She exhibits work throughout the
UK as well as internationally, including Hong Kong, New York and
across Europe. Notable solo shows include the Saatchi Gallery,
London, and Galerie Bhak, Seoul. In 2015, Rivans was invited to
show at Christies, London, for their ‘Out of the Ordinary’ sale. Pinup
portrait ‘Lady Valentina’ is used as the campaign image for both
the London and Milan affordable art fairs; ‘Carina’, the face of the
Scoop International Fashion Show at Saatchi for 2015; and
‘Scarlett’ heads the Nordea Private Banking campaign for
Stockholm Affordable Art Fair.

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