In my work I employ formal elements of abstract painting to compose complex and balanced imagery that tells the quiet narratives of natural phenomena. The goal is to create not a picture of a place, but an actual place where light, color, texture, form, and space can be experienced precisely, uniquely, and tactilely.
The results are invented landscapes. With broad expanses of bold color and close attention to light and surface texture, I create moody images of weighty mountains, hovering clouds, tranquil lakes, and looming moons.
My exposure to the mountainous landscape of Italy’s Turano Valley has had a profound effect on my work since 2017, when I first started to spend time there. The landscape, never subject matter for my work before, slowly began to enter my imagery. I now see the landscape, and especially the Turano Valley, as a vast and perhaps endless font from which to draw visual resources. Translating and organizing these resources within the confines of a picture plane, on paper or on canvas, is an experience that never tires and continues to reveal.
Born 1977 in Wareham, MA.
In 1999 Riley received BFA in Painting from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. In 2004 he received an MFA in Sculpture from the University of Pennsylvania.
His work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions throughout the Northeast including; Danese/Corey in New York City, TSA NY in Brooklyn, NY, Gallery 263 in Cambridge, MA, Lamont Gallery in Exeter, NH, Arthur Ross Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, The Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy, NY, and several others.
He has received grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and the Berkshire Taconic Foundation. Riley has been an artist in residence at the Joan Mitchell Center, Yaddo, and the Vermont Studio Center.Riley currently lives and works in Washington DC and maintains a studio in Colle di Tora, in Italy's Turano Valley.