Isabella framedBy Maria Rivans
Giclee and screen print with hand finished silver foiling and spot varnishes
70 x 100
sabella’ is a Giclée and Screen Print by contemporary artist Maria Rivans. Print onto Minuet Paper with torn edges, and hand finished with silver foiling and spot varnishes, the print is from a limited edition of 50 and is signed and numbered by the artist.
The work of Maria Rivans is known for its distinctive mash-up of surrealism meets Pop-Art. Her iconic pin-up portraits are assembled from scrapbook-like collages, where vintage ephemera mingles with 1950s pop-culture references, to achieve the ease of an early Paolozzi print, merged with the strange surreality of a Hitchcock meets David Lynch movie.
‘Isabella’ depicts the face of the Swedish, 1950s actress Marta Toren. The print is named after Isabella Colbran, a Spanish opera singer who earned fame and success in the late eighteenth century, and who Toren portrayed in the 1954 film Casa Ricordi. For Rivans, Toren as Isabella represents a woman free to make her own choices, unburdened by received rules and obligations. Yet, for all its optimism, Rivans’s piece is full of deliberate contradictions, using the medium of collage to express the tensions that gender equality still faces.
Across Isabella’s neck sits a beautiful, silver-foiled collar, crafted from spikey shells, to represent both protective armour and soft, feathery femininity. Around her head, Rivans has assembled a fantastic head-piece of exotic flora and fauna, laced with symbolic imagery: a red telephone reminds of freedom of speech, while a tumbling TV set warns against the dangers of warped media; a female boxer champions the smashing of gender stereotypes, though she is outnumbered by a cluster of glamorous air-hostesses; and gorgeous, colourful flowers summon the beauty and strength of the natural world, while prowling wolves and wild dogs remind us that our world can still be a savage and hostile place.