With our latest exhibition, Women by Women, now up on the virtual walls of Over-Seas House, this is an opportunity to find out more about the exhibiting artists, their work and their careers. Maria Rivans is a contemporary British artist, known for her scrapbook-style collage aesthetic. 

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. Pin-up 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 head the 2015 Nordea Private Banking campaign for Stockholm Affordable Art Fair. In 2017 and 2018, her work featured in The Times; and, in 2018, her Film Still Understanding Nothing was selected for the Royal Academy’s 250th Summer Exhibition.

In the build up to the exhibition we reached out to Maria Rivans to find out more about her and her work.

At ROSL we are so glad to have you showing in the gallery for the Women by Women exhibition. Can you talk a little bit about the work you are contributing?

I will be showing a selection of screen prints from my ‘Pin-up’ series, which feature vintage Hollywood icons from the silver screen. Originally these prints would have begun their life as an original collage, where my making process begins by sourcing pictures to cut from my extensive collection of printed ephemera of found retro magazines and books. These time consuming and precisely cut fragments and scraps will then be collated and assembled taking long periods of time making many alterations before the collage eventually begins to take shape. These finished collages will then be worked on again to produce a high quality screen print.

Each pin-up symbolises something and I would hope that each viewer will find a little something that resonates with them personally. For instance ‘Eve’ symbolizes the birth of life, the beginning of time and the life we live here on our incredible home we call Planet Earth. Synonymous with the Garden of Eden and one of my favourite paintings The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch. We are physical beings that are fortunate enough to experience all that Mother Nature has gifted us and Eve represents the immense beauty of our world of wonder. This Pin-up also stars a truly inspiring woman, Hedy Lamarr, who was not only known as the famous silver screen actor but was also an inventor and pioneer in the field of wireless communications.

Is there something particularly relevant between your life experiences and the art you produce? 

I grew up watching the Sunday matinees and particularly loved the film noire genre starring powerful women like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford who shaped my childhood into believing that women were strong and could achieve anything they wanted in life. They truly inspired me to be independent and adventurous. The imagery I source and cut is from found 1950’s pop-culture which speaks about today’s obsession with consumerism, whilst my love of sci-fi and the natural world is a contemplation on the greater question of ‘life, the universe and everything’. I practice meditation everyday.

Can you describe one artwork or series from your oeuvre that you feel was pivotal in your career?

I have always made different series of works, moving from landscape, to pin-up to film still to 3D. I find this keeps my work fresh and continually evolving. The Saatchi Gallery solo show was the most pivotal time in my career, I showed all my series of works at this show and the screen prints. It is the Pin-up series that seem to engage with people the most.

Do you have any other artists that you look to as inspiration? 

Many artists and things - Alfred Hitchcock, Sarah Lucas, David Bowie, Vivienne Westwood, Max Ernst, Hyronimus Bosch,

The Surrealists, Richard Hamilton, Planet of the Apes, Land of the Giants, Humour, Love, Meditation, Paolozzi, Rauschenberg,

David Lynch and many many more…

What makes a great artist?

Someone who makes their art with their heart and very soul and who can make others feel this through their work. Their passion and energy truly resonates with the viewer and this energy flows between the work and the viewer.

What advice would you give to emerging artists entering the art world?

Be passionate, love what you do, make with your heart, keep going and focus on what you really want.

To find out more about the work Maria and the other artists are exhibiting, visit our Women by Women exhibition page.

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