A Sweetrocket Ride

A Sweetrocket Ride

by Tracy Shaffer

Riva Opening
Tracy, Riva, "Heaven & Earth"

Cool morning, bright day. I sit down for tea with artist, Riva Sweetrocket, in her gorgeous Ballpark Neighborhood loft. She meets me at the door and takes me into her studio, a clean and spare space which reflects the clarity of her thought and vision. A 44 x 38 inch paper is affixed to a Plexiglas wall; the striking image of a crimson cushion with an oversized, gold satin bow hovering above it is in progress. There is nothing else in the room but light, a small cart holding art supplies and a larger blank sheet of paper on another wall, awaiting inspiration.

The precision of Sweetrocket’s work is extraordinary. Many times I’ve stood before her works at Denver’s Plus+ Gallery, mesmerized and wondering “How does she do that?”  It was my privilege to find out. We spoke of images, what strikes the eye and how these fascinations reach the gallery wall. “I keep a file of photographs, things I see and the colors and textures I find appealing. Most of the time I photograph them myself, but others come from memory. When I get an idea about what I want to put together, it all comes alive in Photoshop” says she. I get a sense that there is a lot of silence and rumination in this woman’s daily life, and a fair amount of chalk dust. Riva’s works are created in soft pastel on paper and have a luxuriant quality that is radiantly defiant of the medium. “Once I’m happy with the image, I begin the work on paper and that is when it starts to really come alive” she continues. 

As Plus+ gallerist, Ivar Zeile, described her at the reception for her “Extra Ordinary” exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens, “It is amazing that Riva is able to do what she does, with pastel it’s nearly impossible.” The one-woman show hanging in the DBG’s Gates Garden Court Gallery is a sumptuous affair with Sweetrocket’s vibrant works rivaling the beauty of the cultivated flora of our host. The works are a mysterious cauldron of elements, gleaming with a spiritual sensuality. My favorite, “Heaven and Earth”, brings an electrical outlet, a string of pearls, a pool of flames, a large daisy and the reflection of a setting sun on clouds into a perfect harmony that lights up my imagination even as it soothes my soul. "How does she do that?" you ask? …You kinda have to be there, and fortunately you have until January 23rd, 2011 to experience this Sweetrocket ride for yourself. With the Henry Moore sculptures and the Blossoms of Light outside the door, there is no better holiday gift to give yourself or cure for the post-holiday blues.


No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.