Exhibition: Nancy Rivera | No Present to Remember

Exhibition Dates: November 3rd – January 14th  |  Opening Reception: November 3rd, 6-9pm | OCA Gallery

No Present to Remember by Nancy Rivera is a series of soft sculptures that merge the tangible with the metaphorical by bringing together family photographs from the artist’s childhood in Mexico with salt from Great Salt Lake and Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, her home for the last twenty-four years. This series of work is not only an exploration of physical materials; it’s a journey through the landscape of memory, where the interwoven threads of past and present create a tapestry of identity.


The family photographs used in this project, laden with memories, act as a bridge between Rivera’s roots in Mexico and her life in the US. They not only represent moments frozen in time but serve as vessels of cultural identity. The use of salt from Great Salt Lake and the Bonneville Salt Flats introduces an element of place and transition. The symbolism of this natural element connects to the passage of time and the fluidity of identity — weaving the essence of two distinct locations into a cohesive narrative.


The choice of soft sculptures as the medium adds a tactile and emotional layer to the project. Softness can be seen as a metaphor for the flexibility and resilience required in navigating the complexities of memories, which often fade and shift over time. Similarly, as the fabric absorbs the salt, which is dissolved in water, the images fade and the color desaturates.


Artist Bio

Nancy Rivera is a visual artist based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her artistic practice weaves together photography, fiber art, and sculpture, whose reciprocal interplay inflects subject matter ranging from personal family memories to subversions of government-issued documents. Influenced by her dual cultural identity, Rivera’s discrete material juxtapositions explore code-switching, cultural assimilation, and displacement—central themes that articulate duality and hybridity.


Rivera has exhibited nationally in a variety of traditional and nontraditional venues including Spring/Break Art Show in Los Angeles, California, Ruffin Gallery at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Granary Arts in Ephraim, Utah. Her work is part of private and public collections such as the Center for Creative Photography, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, and the state of Utah Alice Merrill Horne Art Collection.