I begin with the idea of making a figurative form, and by finding an engagement with the materials and concepts with which I work. I work towards discovering a spark of truth or a certain light that resides in all things and allows the piece to come alive. I search for discovered rhythms, forms and movements that become apparent as I work.
The sculpture I am working is created with a sense of uncertainty. Carving wood, firing ceramics and casting clay leaves a lot to unpredictable results. There is a constant tension between the working and the witness. If I follow the demands of my ego, all is lost, and truth eludes me. When my hands and tools find the ineffable essence of the rhythm of the materials, the forms emerge that live today and yet feel as if they have existed always.
This current work is new to me and yet has been with me since my beginnings. My first stirrings as an artist were to make convincing people, figures and heads; either singularly or in groups, and give to them a solid, lasting form. These forms have persisted with me as I have worked, and always, the question remains; how can I bring forth these figures honestly, reflecting a sense of truth and light that feels of our time.
2018, A Certain Light, Thompson-Giroux Gallery, Chatham, NY
2015 Fairleigh Dickinson University Gallery, Teaneck, NJ
2013 Lincoln Hospital Sculpture Garden and Exhibition Space, Bronx, NY
2011 Crowells Fine Art, New Bedford, MA
2007 The Old Schoolhouse Gallery, NYC
1995 The Painting Center, NYC
1990 Bowery Gallery, NYC
1988 University Press Books, NYC
2022 Back to the Figure, Alice Gauvin Gallery, 43 York St., Portland, ME
In the Same World, Catherine Ramey & Mark LaRiviere, 1053 Main Street Gallery,
2021 Looking Out, Looking In: an introspection, Alice Gauvin Gallery, Biddeford, ME
2020 The Blues, The Painting Center, NY, NY
2019 Function - Non Function Ceramic, Tanja Grunert Gallery, Hudson, NY
2019 NYC-TOKYO, Nippon Gallery, NY, NY
2019 Clay and Wood, Saltbox Gallery
West Hartford, CT
2019 En Masse 2019, Thompson Giroux Gallery
2019 Three Roads Crossing , Gallery X,
New Bedford, MA
2018 East Meets Midwest, Springfield Museum of Arts, Springfield, OH
2018, Rooms With A View, Westbeth Gallery, NYC
2017 Yesterday’s Tomorrow, Gallery House , Brooklyn, NY,
2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, En Masse, Thompson Giroux Gallery, Chatham, NY
2017 East Meets Midwest, Andrews Gallery, William & Mary College VA
2017 Alumni Show, New York Studio School, NYC
2017, On The Shoulders of Giants, Westbeth Gallery, NY, NY
2016 Alumni Show, New York Studio School, NYC
2016 Nearer the Truth, Thompson Giroux Gallery, Chatham NY
2014 Search Portrait, Thompson-Giroux Gallery, Chatham, NY
2014 Body and Soul, Surmrit Gallery, Jersey City, NJ
2014 Heads-A Retelling, Salena Gallery, LIU, Brooklyn, NY, Curator
2014 Alumni Show, New York Studio School, New York, NY
2012 Simon Carr, Mark LaRiviere, Thaddeus Radell,
Salena Gallery, LIU , Brooklyn NY
2010-2011 EAST MEETS MIDWEST
Andrews Gallery, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA
Westbeth Gallery, NYC
Hoffman LaChancer contemporary, St. Louis, MO
The Beverly Arts Center, Chicago, IL
2009 Opening a Word, Five Figurative Artists, the Painting Center, NYC
2007 CONTEMPORARY FIGURATION, Westbeth Galley, NYC
2007 Lori Bookstein Gallery, NYC
2002 FOUR PAINTERS, Lori Bookstein Gallery, NYC
2002 - 2007 Trainstation Gallery, West Stockbridge, MA
2000 WATERCOLORS, Lori Bookstein Gallery, NYC
2000 175th Annual Exhibition, National Academy of Design, NYC
1999 GROUP SHOW, The Painting Center, NYC
1988 GROUP SHOW, Ute Stebich Gallery, Lenox, MA
1988 THE PERSISTENCE of PLACE, Dallas, PA
1997 LANDSCAPE, VISION and SPIRIT, LIU, NYC
1997 LANDSCAPE, The Painting Center, NYC
1996 PAINTING, The National Arts Club, NYC
1995 MINDSCAPES, Marine Midland Bank, NYC
1994 GROUP SHOW, Five Points Gallery, East Chatham, NY
1994 RECENT WORK, Mark LaRiviere & Riley Brewster, The Painting Center, NYC
1994 DRAWINGS & PRINTS, Parsons School of Design, NYC
1993 PREVIEW SHOW, The Painting Center, NYC
1993 GROUP SHOW, Bill Bace Gallery, NYC
1993 A-Z, 0-9, E S Vandam Gallery, NYC
1992 167th Annual Exhibition, Nation Academy of Design, NYC
1991 FOUR ARTISTS, Bill Bace Gallery, NYC
1990 TEN YEARS LATER, Parsons School of Design, NYC
REVIEWS AND PUBLICATIONS
2018 A Certain Light, Review by Simon Carr
2012 Salena Gallery Catalog, by Xico Greenwald
1996 PAINTINGS, by Martica Sawin
1995 MINDSCAPES, by Peter Pinchbeck
1995 FORM AS MEANING, The Paintings of Mark LaRiviere, by Peter Pinchbeck
1993 ALEA Number 3, A Portfolio of five woodcuts
1990 COVER, May issue, Review by Tom Savage
1988 ARTnews, April issue, Review by Gerrit Henry
Back to the Figure 2022
Alice Gauvin Gallery, 43 York St., Portland
Review By Jorge S. Arango
Both LaRiviere’s drawings and sculptures are highlights of the show. Made with ballpoint pen, the drawings illustrate tremendous dexterity and fluidity. Two are clearly figures from classical
paintings, the others original compositions. All telegraph a sense that they were created in a single sitting using one continuous circulating line. They recalled for me the perpetual drawing I did
as a child with my old Spirograph (the circular motion of it, not the automaticity). One gorgeous piece in red pen, “In the Time of Corona IV,” looks almost like a classical composition of
And his sculptures – whatever the medium – have a wonderful sense of hand-modeling to them. The white-glazed ceramic figures are particularly interesting because they represent raw takes on the old art of blanc de chine, the white Chinese porcelain figures originating in the Ming Dynasty. These forebears were delicate and perfectly modeled. But LaRiviere does something more expressionistic with them that gives them tremendous tactile presence despite their diminutive size.
SIMON CARR'S REVIEW A CERTAIN LIGHT 2018
This selection of Mark LaRiviere's work shows him in two lights, as a master of figurative expression , and a powerful abstract painter.
His sculptures grow out of an intuative feel for his materials. One can sense the artist's excitement and energy as he unlocks movement from a tree trunk or a block of clay. Standing Woman (2018) strides confidently towards us, her elongated arms reaching out for an embrace. Though his figures have a great formal energy, they appeal to the viewer as unapolegetically and intimately human.
The clusters of figures throughout the gallery balance his large abstract paintings on the walls, which are full of the luminosity and brilliance of the natural world. While the sculpted figures seem to gesture and dance into our space, the paintings draw us into their world of light. This fascinating exhibition
gives us the chance to compare one artist's vision in two different mediums.
SALENA GALLERY CATALOG By Xico Greenwald
A few years ago Mark LaRiviere, who had for decades focused on colorful, multiple-figure paintings, surprised even himself by turning his attention to sculpture. In his recent work, LaRiviere gives three-dimensional volume to the figures that have been the subjects of his paintings. With no formal training in sculpture, LaRiviere has embraced the physical and technical challenges of making three-dimensional form with newfound freedom, energy and playfulness. Using wood he finds around his upstate property, making molds from terracotta and wax, or sculpting directly with plaster, LaRiviere has introduced an element of surprise to his work, where cracks and blemishes in the materials become part of the final image, giving emotional depth to his figures, reminding us of Rumi's saying: "The wound is the place where the light enters you."
FORM AS MEANING, The Paintings of Mark LaRiviere, by Peter Pinchbeck
Mark LaRiviere's new paintings are swirling compositions of light and color that bears an unashamed debt to Impressionism. The differences, however, are as pertinent as the similarities; Mark has taken the Impressionist brushstroke and magnified it, giving greater volume and presence to a technique designed to catch momentary effects of light.
Paintings like Mark's evoke the "intoxication of form" (Nietzsche) while denying the constrictions of formalism and by this feat disclaims those critics who never cease to fantasize the death of painting. As for abstraction being in a state of crisis, it will always be in a state of crisis: it goes with the turf. If it were trying to do something simplistic, there would be no crisis; nor can it conform to the beauraucratic edict that art should provide socially useful commentary. On the contrary, it desires to point away from what T.S. Eliot called the "panorama of chaos and futility of modern life." It seeks otherness, to create a window onto what has no obvious face, no literal vista, no repressed identity. Like the proverbial prophet in the wilderness, it searches for visions beyond the known, and visions are, after all, the very stuff of which paintings are made
PAINTINGS AND SCULPTURE, National Arts Club February, 1996, Review by Martica Sawin
"Huddled presences seem to body forth out of LaRiviere's Guston-like manipulation of paint, asserting themselves in clear hues against surroundings of subdued tones. These presences hover on the
edge of existence, on the verge of being reabsorbed into the richly worked surface, enigmas quietly provoking insoluble questions.
No painting is as pure as purists would have it, but my idea of "pure" painting is when it says things that can only or best be said in paint and when it reaches the mind through the delectation of the eye."
MARK LaRIVIERE AT BOWERY GALLERY, May 1990, by Tom Savage
Said Willem DeKooning, "I think that if an artist can always title his works, that mean he is not always clear." The paintings of Mark LaRiviere are usually untitled and clear. LaRiviere's
paintings are composed of numbers and large blocks of colors. Sometimes the blocks are wider than they are long.
Abstract paintings always ask me whether or not I have the right to see in them forms recognizable to me. In one very abstract painting, I see the Manhattan skyline with one of the two rivers attached to it and one boat. Paintings are like rivers, except that they don't move.
Because they move the paintings of Mark LaRiviere are not at all like mirrors. Each time you look in a mirrors you see approximately the same thing. Thus abstract paintings move without moving. For as long as your cerebral and optical neurons keep pulsing, you can see something completely different each time you look at an abstract painting.
Some people think abstract painting is very cold- that is, unmoving. They should be locked in a room with the paintings of Guido Reni if they want "cold." This is Mark LaRiviere's first show at the Bowery Gallery I was very moved.
Tom Savage, Cover Magazine May 1990
-Gerrit Henry ARTnews April 1988