Cheryl McGinnis Projects Present:
Randomland– Rebecca Riley at the Sprint Flatiron Prow Art Space June 21 – September 20, 2012 (Prow is a public art space, exhibit viewed 24 hours a day)
Unveiling and Reception with the Artist: June 28, 7pm
The space will be open for viewers to speak with Rebecca Riley on Tuesdays from 11am-3pm
Cheryl McGinnis Projects i is thrilled to present Randomland Rebecca Riley’s continuously growing network of invented worlds constructed from various forms of topographic maps, road maps and atlases. With a rich range of over 500,000 people from all parts of the earth passing the Prow Space each week, it is the perfect site for unexpected juxtapositions of cities, parks, forests, wetlands and waterways that reflect the current global collage of instant cyber and cellular communication where physical location becomes increasingly irrelevant. Joining fragments of randomly collected cartographic sources sometimes donated by friends and colleagues, Riley’s pangea is governed purely by aesthetics of line, shape and color representing roads, rivers, contours and boundaries. With the exception of waterways, which flow free of human control, she reveals patterns in her manipulated formations by applying acrylic paint with a self-imposed color system informed by the maps’ legends. While regarded as reliable tools, maps are continuously in flux due to cultural, political and socio-economic changes in districts and borders, as well as from geological fluctuations. Whether observing Riley’s geographic organism from inside or outside the iconic glass-enclosed peninsula of Manhattan’s first skyscraper, viewers can see through the suspended layered shapes as if peering through dappled trees; the varied depths of field offered by this triangular space echoes the shift in perception from objective information-based knowledge to the complexity of visceral experience.
Riley’s fascination with dynamic micro and macro systems from cellular mitosis to cosmological structures, manifested first in her Big Bang series of paintings, on view at Cheryl McGinnis Gallery in TriBeCa in the fall. Developing a process for which color decisions are made in advance yielding unpredictable results, Riley adapted this approach to her initial map paintings which studied patterns of growth within a city. Her series of woven maps exposed the arbitrary prosperity or poverty of a country depending on geographic resources, which led curator Cheryl McGinnis to read Jared Diamond’s book on the subject, Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. Having retained the integrity of the maps’ rectangular or elliptical structures in these earlier works that focused on systems frequently lacking human control, Riley now breaks free and asserts her will on geography as she layers and builds organically in response to the composition and the unique options and challenges offered by the Prow’s landscape where the actual “art making” will take place throughout the summer and early fall. Passersby who physically walk the map of Manhattan are transformed into explorers and everyone will discover themselves in the changing installation as they connect with a home town, highway, or favorite vacation spot, suddenly realizing that it leads them onto a new path far from any they have ever travelled.
With an installation at the New York Public Library scheduled for 2013, Rebecca Riley’s work is represented in numerous collections, and was most recently acquired by Agnes Gund, New York, NY. Earning her B.A. in Art from Carleton College, MN and an MFA in painting from Pratt Institute, NY where she received a Fellowship Award, she also attended the University of Georgia Summer Art Program in Cortona, Italy. Widely exhibited, including Bushwick Open Studios 2011 and 2012, Riley’s maps were included in Project Globe, Art Auction for Future Generations, sponsored by Travel and Leisure Magazine in 2008. In addition to recent group exhibitions, her work was highlighted in two solo exhibitions in 2009: Cartographic Cells at Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY and 75 Mile Radius at Cheryl McGinnis Gallery, NYC. In addition to other exhibitions at Cheryl McGinnis Gallery, her work has been shown by institutions such as The 92nd Street Y, NYC; Herter Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA; University Place Gallery, Cambridge, MA; Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA; Montgomery College, Rockville, MD; Jonathan Shorr Gallery, NYC; Flushing Town Hall, Smithsonian Affiliate Flushing, NY; Long Beach Foundation of the Arts and Sciences, NJ; and she has had images published in the Sight Mapping catalog, Herter Gallery in 2009; on the cover of the March 2007 issue of the Journal of the Complexity Society, Emergence: Complexity and Organization; and in the May 2005 issue of Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, Berkeley, CA, Geometric Evolution Equations. Reviews include Art of the Times and Travel and Leisure Magazine and a segment on NY1.