Let’s Talk SHOP: Audrey Riley

Abby Leon, Paradigm Gallery Director

Photo of artist Audrey Riley outdoors in her backyard.
Artist Audrey Riley. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The FWMoA is thrilled to talk shop with Audrey Riley, an artist who has an unbelievable drive and passion to create! In this post, you will learn about Audrey’s background and gain insight into what inspires her work. You will also get a behind-the-scenes look at her process for the new jaw-dropping art currently displayed in the Paradigm Gallery. 

“When I was in graduate school I learned to write about my art and that it was necessary to be taken seriously as an artist. Well, COVID has made me sassy and I don’t like to follow rules anyway, so here goes. Whenever I’ve been asked to write an artist statement, I’ve always wanted to say that my art should do the talking. Ahh. I said it!

Ed Rusche, my favorite artist and influencer, said something I find important, “Whether or not the work communicates anything to anyone is not important to me. The work is my indulgence. I don’t set out to get something across. . .” I love the description of art being a three-legged stool. You have the creator, the work of art, and the viewer. All three work together to communicate something. My goal as an artist these days is to spend as much time as I can immersed in what interests me using color, line, texture, value, and shape. I hope that the viewer finds my work thought provoking. And if they find it beautiful, then that would a bonus to me. But what my art communicates is up to the viewer in the end.

I am a mixed media artist who paints with encaustic, draws with graphite, colored pencil, and oil pastel, and makes prints and collages. I hold a BA in Fine Art and Graphic Design and an MA in Studio Arts, both from the University of Saint Francis. I spent a career in advertising, owning my own firm for fourteen years, and taught illustration and two-dimensional composition as an adjunct at the university level. I am married to a one-of-a-kind man I met in college and spend a lot of time gardening with my best friend, doing the work it takes to eat whole food plant-based, reading, jumping rope, and learning Spanish.”

We are always excited to see what Audrey Riley’s been up to in her studio! As you just read in her statement, she is extremely multitalented, and that keeps everyone on their toes with what medium she is working in next. In fact, her pieces are often layered with an array of different materials and techniques, creating an unusually diverse body of work. Here are two great examples – Check out these beauties that just arrived at the gallery this week!

An image of a television with a three-quarters pixelated screen.

“I planned for these two pieces to be part of a series I’ve been working on for a few years about social media called Social Impedia. The influence for the series was the fabulous images that appear when you have a bad internet connection and buffering occurs. When COVID changed our lives and I was cleaning out my flat files, these works hit me in a new way. It was as if I were the viewer, new to the art, bringing my experiences to it. They illustrated palpably what I was feeling – the all-encompassing nature of COVID and social media as well as their ability to separate us from each other and deprive us of contact in the way that humans innately need. And the weight they both have placed on my life and thoughts. I’ve never had an experience such as this, and it really was sublime.”

How it started: Super Dense Curiosities is a monoprint printed on top of an experimental print.

A print with the words "Super Dense Curiosities" going across it.

What happened next: Super Dense Curiosities II is a print from the ink residue left on the printing plate after I removed the stencils with which I used to print Super Dense Curiosities.

A print of the residue ink left over from the print above "Super Dense Curiosities".

How things evolved: I took the left-over ink and covered the glass on which I mix my ink. I used a small roller to achieve the repeated spots of color. Then, I wiped part of the glass clean, laid a piece of paper on the glass, and made a print. There was still enough ink left on the glass, so I printed it a second time, making what is called a ghost print.

Then: I drew in the negative space of each print.

To see All I Think About, Drowning in It, or more of Audrey Riley’s work, come visit us at the Paradigm Gallery: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm; Thursday 10am-8pm; Sunday 12pm-5pm

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