Keep Contemporary’s new show “Through the Darkness” features work generated from personal struggle and adversity by artists Lea Anderson and Rachel Rivera.
Rivera’s challenges have been obvious to all who know her. She lost her husband and the father of her daughter in 2014.
“This work is inspired by the resulting myriad of overwhelming feelings I have, including loss, anger, added responsibility and depression,” explains Rivera, who grew up in Albuquerque and studied studio art with an emphasis on printmaking at the University of New Mexico.
In her latest 2D work, Rivera explores the idea of mourning hats as a visual representation of how she feels.
“To emphasize the feeling of being vulnerable and exposed, I left the figures in my drawings naked,” she says. “Their ‘hats’ are stacked high, heavy and precariously balanced on their shoulders, and cover their faces to emphasize the sensation of suffocation and lack of visual clarity.”
Anderson’s wall pieces have stories of personal and emotional experiences behind them.
“I’m coming to terms with difficult and dark situations,” says Anderson, a native of San Diego who has called New Mexico home since 2003.
“These new works are not as colorful as some of my previous pieces,” she continues. “When I started them, I didn’t expect to find myself working with gray and black and not much yellow, orange or green. Color has a joyful, positive feel to it, and I’m expressing some disappointment and rejection.”
Yet, there’s hope in Anderson’s work. Her organic-like images, created with different types of paper, project a feeling of being alive and growing as they protrude into space. Rivera’s work also has a theme of resiliency woven into it.
“A lot of the way I work is to transfer hurt into something positive that has purpose and meaning,” Anderson adds.