With Erin Riley
Tuesday, August 16th | 6:00 PM
The Church is pleased to announce a public talk with Brooklyn-based visual artist Erin M. Riley. With a MFA from the Tyler School of Art and BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Erin is known for her meticulously crafted large-scale tapestries that depict intimate, erotic, and psychologically raw imagery that reflects upon relationships, memories, fantasies, sexual violence, and trauma. These scenes are created from personal objects, screenshots, experiences, and the cacophony of life consumed and filtered through the perspective of a human who came of age on the internet. By taking symbols of excess and violence that are so commonplace online and rehousing them in this ancient medium, Riley encourages a nuanced, renewed critique of online visual culture. Her 2021 work Desire (featured above) is included in the Church’s current exhibition, Threading the Needle.
Riley is a two-time MacDowell Colony Fellow and former artist in residence at Yaddo and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York among many other accolades. Using hand-dyed wool and traditional tapestry techniques, Riley’s work unapologetically claims space for subject matter that’s often hidden from larger society — domestic violence, female sexuality, and self-harm, along with everyday images of women’s lived experiences. Riley elevates these charged subjects via a medium most associated with religious iconography, heroic legends, and Middle Age royalty. Her work builds on the traditions of feminist artists like Ana Mendieta, Faith Ringgold, and Judy Chicago, laying bear the difficult experiences of growing up and living as a female. As Roberta Smith of the New York Times has written about the artist and her work, “Her richly variegated colors and complex, arresting scenes take full advantage of tapestry’s stitch-by-stitch autonomy.”
This talk by Erin M. Riley is a meeting of two worlds - the digital and the analogue. It will be exhilarating to hear about both her thought and physical process.