acrylic on canvas, 40.75 x 39.75 in (103.5 x 101 cm)
signed and dated, "Rivet 98" (recto, lower centre);
titled, signed, and dated, '"Beothuck Mound - 18 / Rick Rivet / 1998" (verso, upper left);
inscribed by the artist with a directional arrow to orient the painting (verso, upper left).
Estimate: $3,000— $5,000
Gallery Gevik, Toronto;
Acquired from the above by the present Private Collection, California.
Gallery Gevik, Toronto, Rick Rivet: Journeys / Mounds, May 1998 (solo exhibition).
Born in Aklavik and raised there and in Inuvik, Rick Rivet received fine arts degrees from the universities of Alberta and Victoria and now lives and works in B.C. Influenced equally by shamanism and by various Euro-American artists and art movements, he freely blends the different traditions. The artist and writer Portia Prieger writes:
…Rivet's work hovers between abstraction and representation, engaging the languages of both. He blends the traditions of modernist art with those of shamanistic cultures. His synthesis, with its rich visual qualities and underlying thoughtfulness, is deeply evocative at an emotional and intuitive level .
Beothuck Mound - 18, 1998 belongs to a group of works that Rick Rivet created about the Beothuk people of Newfoundland. Faced with increasing hostility and expansion from European settlers, the Beothuk people moved inward on the island and would ultimately dwindle into extinction in 1829, following the death of Shanawdithit, who died of tuberculosis.
Elegiac in mood and rather Rather monumental in its scale, Beothuck Mound - 18 features the distinctive shape of a Beothuk canoe at mid-lower right - a symbol that crops up repeatedly in his art. This aquatic vehicle is the only recognizable form in the work, unless we interpret the form above it as a mound, and serves to reminds us that, despite the sense of doom and inevitability that now plagues the story of the Beothuk people, that they were once a thriving culture with agency. The rest is beautifully abstract: rough quadrants with loosening shapes and swirls of hazy yellows and blues. The title, Beothuck Mound, channels our understanding of the picture; the word "mound" refers to the concept of a burial mound, which acknowledges the loss of this ancient culture. Beyond that, the painting can be enjoyed in purely metaphysical and/or formal terms.
1. Portia Prieger, "Homage: Rick Rivet" in Galleries West (Spring 2008:64-67), p. 64.