February James & John Rivas Curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah
Ross + Kramer Gallery (14 E 63rd St., New York, NY) is excited to present “Double Trouble” this fall, opening November 15, 2019 and running through January 11, 2020. Artists February James and John Rivas were brought together by curator Larry Ossei-Mensah, who links the two based on their proclivity for rendering the figure in a way that cultivates a dialogue about identity, memory, family trauma, and negating stereotypes. The paintings in the exhibition include both new individual as well as collaborative works. While the artists’ singular voices flow together in their figural distortion and “from the gut” authenticity, they exist in separate universes. Rivas’ universe feels sculptural, consisting of speedy, thick brushstrokes and three- dimensional elements adhered to the canvas. Meanwhile, James’ tender portraits exist in a space laden with emotion-swirled watercolor. For the exhibition, James and Rivas worked together to make a series of new works on paper that they physically mailed to each other between Los Angeles and Newark. The artistic exchange yielded unique body of work from James and Rivas. The creative tête- à-tête enables the viewer to plunge rapidly into a new understanding of figural surrealism that can be quickly summarized by the title of the show: “Double Trouble” - two artists overcoming personal challenges and establishing themselves in the art world. February James is an auto didactic artist from Washington DC, living and working in Los Angeles. Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibits in Los Angeles and New York City, television broadcasts and print publications. John Rivas is a figurative painter and first generation American with El Salvadorian roots raised in Newark, New Jersey. Rivas is currently pursuing his MFA at Columbia University. Larry Ossei-Mensah is the Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at MOCAD ,cultural critic and Co-Founder of the collective ARTNOIR.