QUINTíN RIVERA TORO’S LAYERS OF MEANING
by Suzanne Volmer
Whether creating art of intimate scale or exploring monumentality, Quintín Rivera Toro can and does ply extremes for the meaning within. His artworks are an investigation of identity and belonging and, perhaps most intriguing, he uses art to explore feelings and behaviors that link him to the world.
His sophisticated perspectives have outsider art roots. He is from Puerto Rico, where belonging is influenced by the culture’s struggle to maintain identity. A sense of political or social struggle is infused in his artwork. There is also tenderness and behavioral awareness characteristics frequently absent in the Rhode Island scene. Rivera Toro’s sensibility displays emotion with forethought to speak about desire as well as ideas about struggle and fulfillment.
His work is an invitation to interact so audiences can bear witness to the commentary in his subject matter. In a phone conversation from Puerto Rico, he said that his sensibility touched on existentialism. He sees social interaction as that which creates meaning in the experience of living. Rivera Toro’s art has forward movement that engages the public directly, which is the essence of its force. His work is also funny, poignant and disarmingly personal. About willfulness, his work is poetic, and for some people, difficult to understand at first glance.
The open-ended quality of the artist’s work instigates reflection. In his projects where text is involved, he expresses awareness of the precision in language and considers and modulates tone to allow people to understand the intent behind the words.
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