Robert was born in Alabama and attended Marshall County High School in Guntersville. During high school, he was a part of the team that vied for the football state championship. While keeping his interest in sports, he received his BFA in Visual Design from Auburn University in 1973. He played on the UGA Rugby squad in 1976 and 1977. After being awarded a Ford Foundation grant, he received an MFA in Printmaking from the University of Georgia in 1977.
Robert’s career took him to the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 1978 as an Assistant Professor of Art. In 1980, he joined the faculty at the University of Central Florida, where he remains currently a Professor of Art. In 1982-83, he also served as a Visiting Lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art.
Robert Rivers’ artwork has been exhibited in numerous venues around the world, including: Printmakers from Edinburgh of Art Summer School, Fundacion Joan Miro, Mallorca, Spain; Seagate Gallery, Dundee, Scotland; Society of Scottish Artists: 94th Exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy Galleries, Edinburgh; Saints and Sinners, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; The Boston Printmakers Show, Massachusetts. Selected collections are housed in: The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; The National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Alabama.
Robert is married to equestrian trainer, Peggy Stevens. Together they own Brookmore Farms in Oviedo, Florida. They reside in Maitland, Florida with Peggy’s two boys, Mike and Tim.
In addition to his passion for art, Robert has always enjoyed an active lifestyle. For many years, he competed in marathons, including the 1986 New York Marathon and the 1987 Marine Corps Marathon. After running 25,000 miles (once around the world), Robert turned his attention to a childhood love of horses. After a hiatus of twenty years, Robert began riding jumpers in 1997. When he is not drawing or spending time with family and friends, he often competes in jumper and cross-country equestrian events.
From Steve Lotz, Gallery Director University of Central Florida:
"...as it is very possible that Rivers' art has received more exposure abroad than it has yet received in his home community. The work has already received significant attention from the international arts community: since 1981 his work has been presented in Britain at Edinburgh's International Festival; he has enjoyed two stints as visiting artist at the Edinburgh College of Art; he has had five one-man exhibitions (including venues such as the College of Art of Dundee, Gray's Art College, and the Seagate Gallery); Aberdeen's prestigious Peacock Press has published 8 editions of his prints, and the Edinburgh Printmakers' Workshop has editioned one print. The issues and images which are found in Rivers' earliest graduate school prints and drawings reappear in these two exhibitions again and again - mutated, concentrated and distilled. Like one at prayer, or as in psychoanalysis, he persists in turning-over, rethinking and reimaging his abiding leitmotifs. His persistence combined with his enormous productivity affirm that we are witnessing the unfolding of a bone-deep and genuinely personal vision.
Rivers' presence as a teacher has been equally clear. He brings to the studio classroom the same high energy and expectation of effort and excellence that is evident in his art. His inspirational and demanding teaching has assisted a generation of students to qualify for, and to excel in, graduate work and to establish careers as artists. The internationally known arts writer, Graham Collier, has generously contributed the following essay in recognition of Rivers' work [Timelessness]. Professor Collier is a Fellow of Davenport College, Yale University, Professor Emeritus of the University of Georgia, and author of Form, Space, and Vision; Art and the Creative Consciousness; War, Night, Berlin and The Little Voices: Talk from Two Antarcticas."