Riley’s meticulous hand-woven tapestries are intimate portraits into past experience, of both personal and communal memory. The large-scale work confronts viewers to contemplate subjects often considered socially taboo. Frequently autobiographical, her work addresses the innate trauma of womanhood and the objectification of the sexualized body.
“Simple” is a culmination of her previous bodies of work and serves as an investigation into the complexity of the feminine identity. The artist explains that because of the Internet’s infiltration into our personal lives, “Intimacy is blurred, bodies exist in this surreal way, sexuality is abstract. A few specific pieces in the show are of experiences I have had throughout my life… These are the moments we prepare ourselves for with self-defense mechanisms and paranoia. I am trying to evolve from these moments but also want to acknowledge them so as not to live in denial or make people feel like they are alone.” The work physically memorializes moments of our fleeting digital life by depicting selfies, text messages, and screenshots of pornography.
The exhibition also features weavings of car wrecks and portraits of abuse, often accompanied with lines of text. One piece entitled “Portrait of a Father” portrays a crashed semi-truck, with the interwoven caption “you don’t deserve my forgiveness.” Riley utilizes the truck as a metaphor for “how sexual violence knocks us off our axis” and challenges the viewer to consider the inherent aggression women face in our contemporary society. Please join us for “Simple”, opening March, January 4, with an evening reception from 6pm-9pm, where the artist will be in attendance. This exhibition will be on view through Saturday, March 25.