Rebecca Riley grew up in Colorado where hiking, backpacking, skiing and simple walking in the wilderness of the Rockies enabled her to develop a deep appreciation of the natural world. This appreciation is the ultimate foundation of her artwork. She has a BA from Carleton College and an MFA in painting from Pratt Institute. She currently works in Ridgewood, Queens. In addition to her work as an artist, she is a dedicated elementary school art teacher and teaches in the New York City Public Schools. Riley’s solo exhibitions include Brooklyn College; Cheryl McGinnis Gallery; and St. Thomas Aquinas College. Group exhibitions include Site Mapping, Herter Gallery, University of Massachusetts; Creative Cartographies, Brooklyn Arts Council; Beyond Boundaries, Flinn Gallery; and Go to where the Map Takes You: The Intersection Between Cartography and Creativity, Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education. Most recently her work was shown at Modern West Gallery in Salt Lake City in Art for Justice: Select Women Artists from the Agnes Fund Collection and Select Artists Associated with the Art for Justice Fund, and at the Ellen Noel Art Museum in Odessa Texas, in Waterworks. Her installation Randomland was shown Fall 2012 at the Flatiron Prow Artspace, New York, and written about in ArtsObserver, Inspir3d, and Sculpture.org. Her installation Ex Libris Mundi was exhibited at Art Wall on Third, New York Public Library. Publications with her work include Making Art from Maps, by Jill K. Berry and You Are Here NYC, Mapping the Soul of the City by Katharine Harmon. Her work is represented in numerous collections, including Agnes Gund, President Emeritus Museum of Modern Art, New York.
About this collection of work:
My line drawings are a cartography of the places I have been. I repurpose the obsessive detailing of topographical contour lines, describing each bump and curve in the landscape. Finding the contours of objects in the world is a way of defining them, by separating them from other objects, putting a line around them and capturing them. I draw from photos on an iPad screen because unlike drawing on site, I can zoom in to any fragment of the scene and further map out every detail. The more I catalog every item I see, the more I understand, possess and preserve – at least on paper -the quickly disappearing natural world we live in.