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HSL bids Farewell to Rios Paintings

by Kimberley Barker on 2022-10-13T11:17:00-04:00 | 0 Comments

Several generations of students and employees of UVA Health are familiar with the striking works of Roberto Rios, which have hung in the Health Sciences Library for the last two decades. Placed on long-term loan by the artist, the collection will, at the request of Mr. Rios, leave the Library next Wednesday, the 19th*, to be reunited with his other works in a retrospective exhibit at the Texas State Galleries.

Born in San Antonio, Texas, on December 14, 1941, to parents Jesse Rios and Maria Louisa Medina Rios, Rios began drawing at age seven, and painting at age 15. In his last year of junior high school, Mr. Rios met a librarian at the San Antonio Public Library who introduced him to biographies of artists, as well as books explaining their processes. For the next four years, young Roberto spent weekends at the library, researching and learning all he could about a variety of artists.

For many years Mr. Rios was a prolific and deeply influential political artist. In 2008, at age 67, he chose to concentrate on the spiritual, exploring his faith in an ongoing series called, “The Journey of Our Souls”. The paintings on view in the Library are from that period and their evocative titles, some of which include “Wind, Star, and Universe”, “Psalms of David”, “Giftedness” and “Light of the World”, are fitting accompaniments to their visually arresting colors and compositions.


  “I’m very thankful that our staff and patrons have been able to enjoy these beautiful works of art for the last twenty years.I remember when Mr. Rios came to the Library and discussed his thought process in creating each work.This impacted me deeply and to this day as I walk around the Library, I think about how much care and attention was poured into each piece.”    - Bart Ragon, Director, Health Sciences Library


We are deeply grateful to Mr. Rios for his generosity in allowing the Health Sciences Library to display his paintings and for his trust in our stewardship of his work. This collection will be missed by Library employees and patrons alike.


*This post was updated on October 17, 2022, to include the exact day of the week on which the paintings will be packed and shipped.

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