At Uprise

Behind the scenes of "I Was Only Here A Little While"

RF Alvarez’s solo exhibition I Was Only Here A Little While explores the interconnected and disparate lives of strangers. Alvarez contrasts earnest colored pencil drawings with diaristic musings against large-scale monochromatic paintings of crowds as they gather in restaurants, clubs, and other spaces in an investigation of public and private personas. With titles alluding to Greek epics and myths, Alvarez’s scenes act as allegories to larger themes of identity, community and purpose. Go behind the series below.

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I wanted to capture the warm glow that one feels at a dinner among close friends. It was also important that the characters, whether or not they truly are, felt queer: confident, playful and unabashed. — RF Alvarez

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It’s not the lovers I dream about, not the dinners with friends, the waiters dropping off glasses of wine. It’s not the movie theatre or the music show or the cocktail bar. It’s not a particular place, not a particular person, not even a particular moment. What I miss, what I ache for, are the strangers. I miss overheard conversations from lives that aren’t mine. I miss the faces that populate the corner of my eye, the laughter that fills the back of the room. I miss sharing the air with them, sweating up against them, squeezing past them. I miss their warm shoulder pressed against mine on a train. I miss their kindness and their rudeness and their annoying little indiscretions. I miss how they made me feel: interesting, lonely, invisible, beautiful. I miss those nights out where I’d swim among them, dissolve into them, off on a journey, losing myself to them. I miss being a stranger myself. — RF Alvarez

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I wanted each of the pieces to be centered around a single color, and I felt like green was appropriate for this piece because it felt otherworldly, almost ghostly. There was something about the relationship between death and dreams that this green seemed to fit. — RF Alvarez

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The idea of taking a crowded subway right now feels so distant, so scary. I remember the evenings when you'd hop on a subway packed to the doors with people excited to get to their various plans. That feeling of being on a journey together, the camaraderie, was something I wanted to bottle up. — RF Alvarez

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This is the centerpiece of this series, it's the original idea from which the series expanded. I crave this moment- a room of strangers enjoying the music, up against one another. — RF Alvarez

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