Spinners, Weavers, & Warriors, Carin Riley

October 18 - November 15, 2018

Carin Riley’s ethereal blue strand sews together the attributes of goddesses, titans and mortals: the spinning wheels of Penelope and the three fates, the Aegis of Athena and the Fibulae of the Etruscans.

Cloaked in mythology and archaeology, these watercolors and oils call up much more present and prescient cultural tropes of femininity. Through a subtle palette, precisely delineated to the point that the artist designs her own base colors, Riley weaves a tapestry of form that oscillates between abstractly implying the shape of figures and objects, such as Athena’s Gorgon-bedecked armor, to imitating the forces and angles of history’s first safety-pin, an invention of the Etruscans twenty-five centuries ago.

The artist toys with her own Uncertainty Principle–do we follow the line or search out the form?  She visually deconstructs the text of the myths and the histories she investigates.  First Riley offers the line as a winding narrative, but then counters with the suggestion that myth is a series of objects and characters–forms–and that the tale is interstitial filler evolved to merely explain a state of affairs.  Stories and objects are interchangeable; Penelope’s loom is a stand-in for a survivor’s resilience and psychological intrepidness, while Ariadne’s gift of a spool of twine becomes synonymous with her betrayal by her lover Theseus.  The most layered of all is the Aegis.  The strength of woman, represented in the weight of her armor, protects and empowers the goddess Athena, the greatest weaver of all, who weaves together both stratagems as well as warp and weft.

Carin Riley, a native New Yorker, attended the School of Visual Arts, NYC where she studied with Robert Ryman, Marjorie Strider, Richard Serra, Brice Marden and others. Riley received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1973.  Her drawings and paintings are featured in the Wynn Kamarsky Collection, The Ulm Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston Texas and the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation in Little Rock.  She has shown at the Smudajescheck Galerie in Ulm, Silas von Morisse Gallery in New York, and is represented by Weber Fine Art Gallery in Greenwich Connecticut.