Mayor's Arts Awards 2009 - Elias Rivera Santa Fe, New Mexico 2009 Mayor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts - Elias Rivera.
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Artist Elias Rivera, whose color-driven figurative pieces captured the spirit of people engaging in everyday activities, died Wednesday at his home in Santa Fe at 82. His wife, artist Susan Contreras, said the painter died of ailments related to Parkinson's disease. He was a painter whose work both creates timeless images and displays virtuosity of technique. During his long career, Rivera painted the human drama as it unfolds in settings as varied as civil-rights demonstrations, subways, rodeos, and the marketplaces of Guatemala, Mexico and Peru. His classical training and Old Master technique evoked a narrative quality rare in realist painting. He worked 40 years, focused on marketplace, street scenes, and the people who inspire them. Regardless of the particulars of culture, place and time that appear in each painting, Elias Rivera consistently captured the essence of humanity.