MSJC Art Gallery Exhibit: The Art and Soul of Dia de los Muertos by Barbara Rivera

DDLM2015.pngOctober 19th – November 13th, 2015
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Monday – Thursday
Nov. 1, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Artist Reception
San Jacinto Campus Art Gallery
1499 N. State St., Building 1400
San Jacinto, CA 92583

Mt. San Jacinto College Art Gallery is pleased to present Barbara Rivera, The Art and Soul of Dia de los Muertos.  Rivera lives in San Jacinto, California and is a cherished artist in the community.  This solo show of recent paintings is Rivera’s second at the gallery.  The show also coincides with the Dia de los Muertos holiday and the reception on November 1st will have special mariachi band performance, activities and food to celebrate the work and the holiday.

COMUNIDAD: La artista Bárbara Rivera exhibirá sus obras 'El arte y espíritu del Día de los Muertos' en Mt. San Jacinto College

Rivera paints vibrant portraits mainly of women and girls dressed in Mexican fiesta dresses.  The girls are celebrating the Dia de los Muertos and have their faces painted with calaveras or candy skull features.  Her subjects seem to exist in a space between the physical world and the spirit world.  Her characters are often dancing but they are dancing in a void.  Even the way Rivera’s subjects are posed is in a place of mystery.  One painting’s subject might have the very familiar pose of studio portraiture while the painting next to its subjects have the active poses of a snap shot from a fiesta where their bodies are spinning off the canvas.

Only one painting seems to be anchored in the present, Dia de los Muertos Birthday.  In this picture a young lady is dressed in the traditional brightly colored dress with flowers in her hair.  She also wears the calaveras makeup.  She however is wearing a jean jacket and is sitting at a table with a birthday cake in front of her.  On her cake is a Hello Kitty birthday candle.  While other of Rivera’s subjects are floating in a timeless space without reference to place or time this young lady seems to be positioned to blow out the candles on her birthday cake and defy muerte.    

Barbara Rivera is a self-taught painter.  She is of Mexican and Cuban descent and her heritage inspires and informs her work.  As Rivera says “My paintings are a reflection of my life, my journey, and of the things that are important to me, as influenced by my surroundings: people, places, cultures, and things that I love.”  She has recently shown her work at The Museum of Latin American Art, and Picture This Gallery in Long Beach.   

Flyer: The Art and Soul of Dia de los Muertos

For more information contact John Knuth, Gallery Curator, at 951-487-3583 or