Carlos Rivero and his World

In such a demanding and subjective world as the art world, the renowned painter Carlos Rivero has come to occupy a privileged place of being the finest example of Naif Art’s place in Venezuela. 

With a 50-year career and a vast body of work that has taken him to exhibitions in multiple cities around the world, this painter who was born in Rio Tocuyo, a town with cobblestone streets and the Santiago and Santa Ana Church and that is a cradle of artisans, musicians and artists, located in the State of Lara, has earned the respect of both critics and colleagues. 

His works are characterized by a rich colour display of Caribbean influence, where nature is always the main character.What is Naif Art?

Often called “naive” by many, in it you can find a sharp distinction in the application of its concepts, Carlos Rivero explains: The term Naif Art was used for the first time at the turn of the 19th century, to describe the painting of Henry Rousseau, a self-taught painter admired by the artistic avant-garde of the time, which included geniuses such as Picasso, Matisse, and Paul Gauguin, among others.Art Naif is generally characterized by an apparent simplicity and by the freedom of the author in relating and separating, as he well pleases, formal elements such as the inexistence of perspective, the unregulated composition, the unreality of the facts or the application of shockingly coloured palettes.

Naif Art also expresses a general sense of joy, happiness, spontaneity, and complex imagery, and the mixture of these elements often results in an apparently unbalanced, but extremely suggestive form of beauty. Naif is a French term which translated into Spanish means ‘primitivist’. Naif takes you to the painters who had no schools, but, do have in their paintings all the elements that academic art demands. 

The naive painter is one who does not take cues from the academy; for him there are no dimensions, while Naif has a more academic profile even without having come into contact with academia. Some critics claim that, contrasting with “academics” who paint with their “brain” the “naive” paint only with their “soul”. This seems to be the true essence of Naif Art, clearly the style of those who were born with the gift of being artists.

Carlos Riveros learned the techniques that he applies to his painting going from gallery to gallery, from museum to museum, from exposition to exposition, from congresillo to congresillo. He learned a great deal from the proverbial university of life, getting to know a wide array of people along the way who participated in teaching him, one of them being 1967 Nobel Visual Arts laureate Carvallo Feliciano with whom he became very good friends, with Carlos serving as his assistant for 8 years and in so doing coming to see Feliciano as is his mentor.

If artists have anything in common it would be the fact of discovering that they possess a gift at an early age. In the case of Carlos Rivero, his first display of artistic ability began when he decorated the bulletin boards in his classroom when he was in third grade. Since he can remember he has always liked creativity. When he started in elementary school, he was the one who decorated the important charts in school. His teachers were the first to tell him he was good at it and to encouraging him to keep doing it. Carlos became a painter when he finished elementary school then he went to La Guaira to pursue his secondary school education. Simultaneously he studied in the Armando Reveron Artistic Academy. He was 15 when he put on is first solo exhibition.

In addition to painting, music was another artistic movement with which he flirted when he moved to La Guaira in 1968. The motivation in Carlos Rivero`s paintings was religious, then switched to typical and folkloric themes of the country such as El baile del carite, La Burriquita, the Devils of Yare, Boys flying kites among others; This stage lasted until about 1985, when he began to paint nature which has become the most recurrent theme in his work, and with which he has gone around the world.

His paintings with their grand exotic colour scheme, have been exhibited in major galleries in cities like Toronto, Ottawa, New York, Orlando, Miami, Los Angeles, Mexico City, San Juan de Puerto Rico, Bogotá, Paris and London among others. He is currently in talks to hold an exhibition in Beijing.

Throughout his career, Rivero, has been awarded with many distinctions, awards and honourable mentions, however, the years and experiences, have led him to have a very particular perception of what they mean. According to him the awards are a recognition of perseverance, but, in themselves they do not correctly assess the trajectory of an artist.

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