There’s nothing traditional about Brooklyn based artist Erin M. Riley’s woven tapestries. Through created on a loom using traditional techniques, her work features explicit in-your-face imagery that is beautiful and at times difficult to look at. Covered here on our blog and in Hi-Fructose Vol. 36, her tapestries take a screenshot of modern life, especially that of women, focusing on difficult images of drug addition, sex acts, violence, trauma, based on what she finds online and in her personal life.
In 2011, Feminist artist group the Guerilla Girls discovered that fewer than 4% of artists in the Metropolitan Museum’s modern art section are women. While things are getting better, statistics still show that opportunities are low for women in the art world, with women earning 29% less than their male counterparts. In the spirit of the Guerilla Girls, FFDG Gallery in San Francisco has rounded up a group of 25 international female artists to represent the 4%. They call themselves the “4%ers”: Mariel Bayona, Pakayla Rae Biehn, Monica Canilao, Claw Money, Deb, Lola Dupre, Kristin Farr, Michelle Fleck, Angela Fox, Mel Kadel, Aubrey Learner, Lauren Napolitano, Kelly Ording, Pacolli, Meryl Pataky, Emily Proud, Bunnie Reiss, Erin M. Riley, Jenny Sharaf, Minka Sicklinger, Winnie Truong, Kelly Tunstall, Nicomi Nix Turner, and Lauren YS working in various media.
Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco is currently showing a wide variety of new works from international artists with their “Summer Group Show”. As with FWMOA’s “Invisible College” exhibition, previewed earlier, the show packs in countless styles and mediums from familiar rising stars in New Contemporary. This includes artists appearing in our current issue like Erin M. Riley, Erik Jones (HF Vol. 27 cover artist), Brett Amory (HF Vol. 20), Jessica Hess (HF Vol. 21), Nychos (HF Vol. 28), Shawn Huckins (HF Vol. 32), Tracey Snelling (HF Vol. 35), and more.
When you hear the word “tapestry”, you might think of classical, lavish pastoral images dotted with decorative designs. Erin M. Riley is an artist who brings the medium into a new Contemporary context with her insightful portrayals of modern women. Her previous solo exhibition, “Something Previous” (featured here) borrowed inspiration from the internet. In a world where we can share our every thought and most intimate moments, we tend to lose our sense of boundaries. This is a concept that continues to intrigue Riley, which she extends into her current show “Darkness Lies Ahead” at Joshua Liner Gallery in New York.
The selfie and the woven tapestry are just about as disparate as two media can get. While the former is snapped quickly and effortlessly to join a stream of endless images, the latter is created through a painstaking process that beckons a more thoughtful viewing than mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. Erin M. Riley subverts our image consumption habits — and the hierarchy of types of images in general — with her hand-woven tapestries, which she bases on selfies of anonymous women found on the internet. Riley culls her source imagery from social media, taking throwaway, low-res photos and cementing them into handmade, physical objects with a much longer lifespan. The artist will present her latest body of work, “Something Precious,” at Soze Gallery in Los Angeles in February 21.