David Frederick Riley, "It's Only Rock 'n Roll, But I Like It"

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December 6, 2022


December 6, 2022 – january 1, 2023

Altamira Fine Art is pleased to present new work from David Frederick Riley at both of our gallery locations in December 2022. 


The artist will attend a reception in Scottsdale on Thursday, December 8th from 7-9pm during the annual Holiday ArtWalk. 



At a time rife with division, rock stars represent rare points of unification. Consider the historic aura encircling the likes of James Brown, David Bowie and Debbie Harry. No matter how disparate and distanced their fans may be from each other, their voices spark a shared experience of delight and devotion.


In his latest body of paintings, David Frederick Riley harnesses the heroism of rock n’ roll stars through emphatic paintings. More than portraits, his canvases capture the charismatic presence of each musician, whether it be the striking stare of Jim Morrison or the immersive instrumentalization of Jimi Hendrix. “I try to present the thing about them that transcends their likeness,” Riley says. “I try to interpret the music through technique by using looser brushstrokes, more paint splatters, and visual cues that relate to the song or the artist.” For instance, Jerry Garcia peers out at the viewer from behind rainbow-hued glasses, while Bob Dylan’s jacket, abstracted as bold diagonals, suggests the poetic slashes of his lyrics.


Channeling the transcendence of music, Riley lets each painting dissolve into abstraction, with plenty of negative space to invite reflection. Ever since childhood, Riley has listened to the gamut of genres, from the classic rock tracks beloved by his parents to the rock stars he sketched in college. Then as now, he registers music as expansive, opening, an experience that “moves beyond the body.” Ever a storyteller, he channels the chords he loves most into the canvases he now presents.


Contact the gallery for details, (480) 949-1256, connect@altamiraart.com.  


Please note this show takes place at both gallery locations.