Phaedra Bathes in Fabuloso
April 7 - 28, 2018
Exhibition Text Documentation

Et al. and Vacation presents

Justine Rivas
Phaedra Bathes in Fabuloso

April 7 - 28, 2018
Opening reception: Saturday, April 7, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

24A Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002

Et al. is pleased to present Phaedra Bathes in Fabuloso, a solo exhibition by Justine Rivas, on view at Vacation in New York City from April 7 - April 28, 2018. The opening reception will also be a release party for Rivas' recent collection of poems, Lucky Star, published by Stemms. 

        Q: How did the title, Pheadra
        Bathes in Fabuloso, come to    

A: Phaedra's a character in Greek
mythology. She falls in love with her
step-son, it's an unrequited love. 

There are a few different versions of
the one version, 
Hippolytus is cursed and dragged to
death by horses. In another, Phaedra
commits suicide out of guilt. A greek

But to be honest, I first heard the
name Phaedra in undergrad. There
was this girl in my class. She seemed
a bit tough. She wore Dickies and
thick eyeliner. You know when you're
just curious about a stranger for no
reason? It was that sort of thing. 

as far a Fabuloso goes.. the smell
reminds me of bars in the
Tenderloin. I think bars use this
cleaner for some reason. Maybe
because it's inexpensive. "Phaedra
bathes in Fabuloso" I like the way it
sounds. In poetry the sound is
sometimes more important than the
meaning of the word. It's a way of
abstracting language. My favorite
poets do this. 

        Even though I've had many
        jobs where I would have
        prob benefitted from using
        Fabuloso, it's the first I've
        heard of it. 

It has a very distinct smell. Kind of
chemical, kind of floral.

        Is there a place that your
        paintings are rooted? There
        is a lot of nature and
        landscape in the work, it is
        fantasy or is it tied to a
        specific spot?

I'm not thinking of a specific place.
I'm more interested in shapes and
what they can represent. There's a
reoccurring tree in some of these
paintings. Three branches with little
tuffs. I love this shape because it
could also be a flower. There's this lot
by my house with a sign that used to
read "NO PARKING" - it's now been
sprayed over with black spray paint
in a way that look like a simple tree. I
totally copied it.

        When we talked before, you
        had mentioned a new
        layering that's happening in
        these paintings...

Lately I've been using white paint
straight from the tube. Traditionally,
if you're going to use white, you
usually want to warm it up or give it
some depth. I was painting over parts
I wasn't happy with, so I didn't
bother making it it a nice shade.

Eventually it began to grow on me
and I started using this in a more
intentional way. It's a bit cold and

My older paintings give the
impression that I just gave one go at
them. They were bright, quick,
effortless paintings. The paintings in
this show, especially the bigger ones,
have been all sorts of different
paintings. Some of them I've been
working on for a year, which is really
different for me. These paintings
seem a little more slow, a little more

        how does mythology and
        tragedy play out in the


let me think about that one for a

well to be quite literal, I bought a
book of Greek mythology at a Half
Price Books in Dallas. My
grandparents live in Dallas and this is
one of our spots...but yeah I picked
up this book. I was probably looking
for a story that would inspire a

There are a few figurative pieces in
this show. The characters in the
paintings have a story, have a name. I
think a narrative makes for a more
interesting painting.

As far as tragedy goes...absolutely. A
painting in this show is titled
"Bonnard's Lover." It's inspired by a
Bonnard show I saw a few years ago
where most of the paintings were of
his wife, Marthe, and his mistress.
Bonnard chooses to marry
Marthe, and shortly after, the
mistress commits suicide. Following
the suicide, Bonnard makes some
really lovely 'bathtub' paintings. So I
guess, yes, I am interested in tragedy
ha ha

am I giving it all away?

Justine Rivas (b. 1991, Phoenix, Arizona) is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. She received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2014. Rivas' practice focuses largely on oil painting incorporating the sentimental through the figurative. Typically personal in content, Rivas paints from routine moments involving movement and space, often times centered on the domestic or the ephemeral as it relates to memory. Solo exhibitions include Memory Foam at Alter Space (San Francisco). Select group exhibitions include Mission Comics, Guerrero Gallery, Book and Job, and Ladybug House, all in San Francisco, CA.