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Chris Rivers | Portal




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Thursday, 25 May 2023 to Sunday, 16 July 2023

To celebrate Chris Rivers' first solo exhibiton in our partner gallery Friedrichs Pontone in New York, Pontone Gallery is delighted to announce Portal  in London. This is a series of large-scale, exuberant works in which the artist deploys the materiality of paint to make images of otherworldly, stellar landscape. These fantastical scenes are rendered in a sumptuous palette of rich colour and a welter of expressive, gestural handling.


Rivers is an artist dedicated to exploring and exploiting the pictorial possibilities generated by the physicality of his painting process: saturated washes of vibrant colour develop into lowering skyscapes; clots and accretions of impastoed oil turn into mountain ranges; scattered and scumbled paint fields become the detritus of volcanic explosions; swirling billows of translucent medium suggest protean clouds of gas. His works maintain an energetic almost frenzied tempo but are not ‘one-note’ paintings: he introduces changes of pace and subtle manipulations of his technique which makes for a variety of mood and ambience.


Within all this galactic turmoil Rivers carefully introduces small figures, often astronauts, who establish a sense of monumental scale. They are subsumed in fiery, elemental vortices of turbulent paint, carried through time and space, desperate voyagers in an alien world. Rivers seems keen to emphasise human vulnerability and at the same time hail the pioneering spirit. His tiny protagonists exist on the edge of the sublime, in awe of the terrifying universe surrounding them. In this respect Rivers can be seen as an inheritor of the ‘apocalyptic’ tradition of British, nineteenth-century Romantic painter, John Martin.


This painter uses his studio as an alchemical workshop, spinning up painterly concoctions to transform mundane material into visionary images. He investigates the language of painterly abstraction to make pictures of notional and imaginary places and invites us to join him on a fantastic voyage, in anticipation of being lost, and found, in space.


020 7730 8777
Venue ( Address ): 

Pontone Gallery

74 Newman Street,



Pontone Gallery , London

Other events from Pontone Gallery

Olivia Longstaff | A Painter's Conversation
06/08/2023 to 07/16/2023
Chris Rivers | Portal
05/25/2023 to 07/16/2023
Yigal Ozeri | London Stories
05/11/2023 to 06/04/2023
Luci della Greca: Light of Greece
04/03/2023 to 05/07/2023


Related Shows This Week in UK

Dynamic and Sublime
06/06/2023 to 06/18/2023
Chris Rivers | Portal
05/25/2023 to 07/16/2023
Under Blue Shade
04/21/2023 to 06/10/2023
Rosa-Johan Uddoh: Ye Olde Group Chat
05/22/2023 to 10/08/2023
Rodrigo Arteaga: Mycelium Book
05/19/2023 to 06/18/2023
Preview | Cheng Ran: Always I Distrust
06/02/2023 to 07/08/2023
Vertical Spint - Ines Fernandez Cordova
05/18/2023 to 06/11/2023
Emily Rickard: KnitWell
03/18/2023 to 06/11/2023