Erin M Riley’s contempo-tapestries
It is so awesome to discover successful women artists, working within a contemporary art setting, who use historically traditional craft techniques. Erin M Riley makes incredible tapestries on her Macomber floor loom that address image overload and self-exploitation of social media networks and the world wide web.
Imagine taking a picture on your iphone and having someone print it at kinkos. Then imagine creating an image on a loom, painstakingly thread by thread, warp and weft. I don’t need to descibe to you the differences of these 2 techniques – as they are also both very interesting and respected art mediums as it is – however, as they say “time is money” and these must be very important images.
Her work is beautiful and stimulating aesthetically while carrying a darkness and playfulness. The viewer feels sympathy or maybe just familiarity with the subjects and their settings. Erin speaks about her work as if ”in mourning” of visual self-exploitation. Most of her pieces incorporate personal images and items from her young adulthood or images straight off google image search.
While looking through her website and info about her, I discovered she takes pride in controlling entirely the outcome of her work and spends “time” with her materials: she hand dyes all of her wool yarns with acid dyes to achieve the colors she wants in her tapestries, not to mention building makeshift wall looms to better suit her size requirements. I love looking at the images of her works in progress; it really gives you a sense of the development of the technique.
I really admire her work and look forward to seeing her large scale self-portraits exhibited in her solo show at Guerrero Gallery (San Francisco).
I really want to learn more about tapestry weaving… but in the mean time, check out our weaving classes through June.