Solo Exhibition | Jackson, Wy
Altamira Fine Art Jackson is pleased to present a solo exhibition for David Frederick Riley, opening September 1, 2020.
Please join us for a Meet & Greet with the Artist during the Fall Arts Festival, Wednesday, September 16 from 2-5pm.
If you would prefer a private tour of the exhibit, please contact the gallery (307) 739-4700.
When painting, I always ask myself: What do I need to tell the story, and more importantly, what don’t I need? I’m always considering the idea that the greatest artists edit the best. How subtle can I make something? It becomes about being less obvious, more quiet. I haven’t found the bottom of this pool yet: I can always edit more. The human eye is so adept at picking things up. Even people who have never studied art can read nuanced work. It goes back to survival in the wild; to tell us what we’re looking at, the eye catches subtle differences and values. When you’ve got your paint mixed on your palette, the tendency is to state something definitively—dark values, hard edges. The trick becomes indicating rather than telling, backing off on color or value, finding softness. People respond to subtlety. Our brains want to work. We want to have something to figure out.
When you are in nature, your senses fire up. We talk a lot today about being present and mindful, but all you need to do is be within 100 feet of a bear and immediately you are back online. In our day-to-day, we get lulled into comfort. In the wild, comfort is fleeting. One of my biggest drivers is get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
I called the grizzly bear Zen because of the expression on his face and his stance. You can’t see his hands or legs, but it’s not hard to imagine him sitting cross-legged with his fingertips touching. Similar with the bison, Profile: both animals are at ease in spite of the fact that they embody power and ability— bears and bison can run more than 30 miles an hour. To catch them in this relaxed state creates space for greater appreciation of these animals: their capacity for energetic output makes the quiet moments all the more striking. I love the contrast. It’s the same in my work, how I define one thing through the opposite. Define the power of the bear through its stillness. Define the positive space on the canvas with the emptiness. Duality, but then also understanding the shades of grey within it—the intangible. I don’t want to paint every hair. I want the movement of the hair. I’m constantly moving as I paint: stepping back, considering, rushing back to the canvas. I’m guided by a quiet voice within me that doesn’t say, “Make this mark next,” but rather, “Look here.” In the pause, I see the area in need. It’s like in school, when the teacher asks a question and you raise your hand before you know the answer. The “Oh” happens before the answer. Stepping back gives me the space to have the “Oh” moment. As I walk to the canvas, I figure out what the “Oh” is. The more I step back, the better I paint.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org/ 307-739-4700 for more details.