Established English artist Paul Riley chooses traditional still life objects – bowls and vessels – as vehicles for abstracted emotional intensity, reminding the viewer of 20thCentury Italian still life painter Giorgio Morandi’s work. Riley’s artworks are immaculately rendered in oil paint; usually just one object is painted on a shelf against an expansive plane of colour. This focused composition allows the viewer to meditate on the depicted object, and through this visual act the psychological weight of the object is transferred from artist to viewer.
The artist himself likens the paintings to the fleeting, expectant silence prior to a particularly aggressive piece of music – a heady moment suffused with anticipation and barely suppressed energy. Whatever the simile, Riley’s work transcends the ephemerality and passivity of the subject, becoming intense, scintillating meditations in paint.
Riley is a graduate of the Royal Academy Schools and has exhibited extensively in London with Sarah Myerscough Fine Art, Curwen Gallery, The Blue Gallery, The New Graften Gallery, Gallery Fine, and Berkeley Square Gallery. He has also exhibited in New York, Chicago and Palm Beach. Riley has received numerous prestigious art awards including the Landseer Scholarship; the Richard Ford Award; the Elisabeth Greenshield Award; and was shortlisted for the Villiers David Prize. In 2008, the artist received a major commission for five paintings for P & O Ventura Luxury Cruise Liner.