• Barbra Riley - The Woods Journal, K Space Contemporary, Corpus Christi

    Barbra Riley - The Woods Journal, K Space Contemporary, Corpus Christi

    FMI: 361-887-6834 or visit www.kspacecontemporary.org
    K Space Contemporary is honored to present THE WOODS JOURNAL BY BARBRA RILEY, MAY 18 through JUNE 29, 2018 in the Main Gallery.

    In 2016, Riley retired after 38 years as a Professor of Art at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. In her Texas Hill Country studio, she works on digital prints, alternative processes and mixed media works. Barbra Riley’s recent relocation to central Texas is the major influence in the artwork she has made since living and working in the natural environment surrounding her.
    In her series “The Woods Journal,” Riley presents a poem about this change in her surroundings accompanied by dream-like photographs. The images weave through the lines of her poem emphasizing the small and beautiful discoveries that occur while wandering in the woods. From ephemeral cactus blossoms that rarely last more than a day, to layers of the transparent woods of winter, to fragile other-worldly ice sculptures made by common weeds, Riley captures the feeling of being outside and away from the tribulations of daily life.

    For more information about programs and events at K Space Contemporary, visit www.kspacecontemporary.org, follow us on Instagram @kspacecontemporary or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KSpaceContemporary/ .

  • Target Texas - What Inspires, Art Museum of South Texas

    Target Texas - What Inspires, Art Museum of South Texas

    Target Texas: What Inspires - 5/18/2018 10:00 AM - 8/12/2018 5:00 PM
    Target Texas is a biennial of Texas artists organized by the AMST Curator of Exhibitions, Deborah Fullerton. This exhibition brings six artists from across the state, a place as big as many countries, to answer the question, “What inspires the contemporary artists of Texas?” Artists here have an incredible variety of inspirations rooted in the distinctness of each region, and choose to depict a broad array of messages through a range of mediums. What inspires each artist depends upon a lifetime of experiences such as storytelling, family, nature, current events, and urban issues. This edition of Target Texas includes Sedrick Huckaby of Fort Worth, Teresa Ruiz of Corpus Christi, Rigoberto Gonzalez of McAllen, Barbra Riley of Canyon Lake, Sarah Williams of Houston, and Elizabeth Payne of Yoakum. An accompanying full-color catalogue will be available in the Gift Shop.


    Art Museum of South Texas,
    April 9-September 13, 2015,

    Selections from the Art Faculty at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

  • Artist Barbra Riley brings new view of landscape
    Corpus Christi Caller Times

    Lynda Jones
    7:31 AM, Nov 21, 2014
    arts and culture

    CORPUS CHRISTI - Corpus Christi Artist Barbra Riley's new exhibit "Fossil Fuel and Ghost Stories" at Samara Gallery in Houston brings together ideas and materials into a new view of the landscape.

    She has combined her commissioned "Energy Series" from the 1980s with current still lifes. Through these works, she creates pieces that are nostalgic and contemporary.

    For the still lifes, she used family heirlooms, fossils, minerals and other eclectic items. These are placed in the foreground with scenes of petrochemical workers placed in the background.

    "The arrangements of the workers and the machinery almost look choreographed, but there was little of that, as I was moved around in a cherry picker to take these photos," said Riley.

    The "Fossil Fuel" photos are in a vertical format to emphasize the tall industrial backgrounds in most of the images. Her still lifes have traditionally been in a horizontal format but are now worked into a vertical.

    Riley achieved an aged, analog look in the photos by using digital filters and matching the foreground lighting conditions to the background. The result is a rich tonal value and surreal color palette printed on digital watercolor paper.

    "These photos combine up to several different photographs to make one finished photo. I can move the different parts around in separate layers until the composition that I want is achieved. Then I adjust the light and color in the individual layers to match and make it look like it was all photographed at once. This requires hours in Photoshop," Riley said.

    Showing in the same gallery is Riley's "Ghost Stories" series. These were inspired by the story about Chipita Rodriguez, who was hanged for a murder that she claimed not to have committed. Her ghost is said to haunt the riverbeds of San Patricio County.

    In "Ghost Stories," Riley incorporates the look of early photographic processes by using mixed media and a historic drawing medium, walnut ink. Rather than illustrate the story, Riley creates the feeling of being in a haunted place surrounded by spirits.

    She wishes to capture the viewer's imagination and satisfy her own curiosity while adhering to technical standards. She considers this to be a balancing act along with considering aesthetics, composition and color. Riley thinks of making art as problem solving, whether working in Photoshop, laminating a print or creating a painting.

    Although her work is very technical and finished looking, she leaves room for viewer interpretation. Her influences for art range from breaking news of the day to her environment to art history.

    Riley's photographs and paintings have been included in exhibitions at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Laguna Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Center for Photography, Abilene Fine Arts Museum, and the Art Museum of South Texas, as well as dozens of universities, art galleries and alternative art exhibition spaces.

    Riley has been teaching classes in photography, design and watercolor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi for more than three decades. She has also curated exhibitions for the Islander and Weil galleries and conducted workshops in historical photographic processes, bookbinding and watercolor both here and abroad.
    So if you are traveling during the holidays you may want to take in this exhibit in the newly opened Samara Gallery.

    What: "Fossil Fuel and Ghost Stories"
    Where: Samara Gallery, 3911 Main St., Houston
    When: Through Dec. 23
    Gallery Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. or by appointment
    Information: info@samaragallery.com, 713-999-1009

    Lynda Jones is an artist, former art teacher and has served on several art related boards. Contact her at weekendarts@gmail.com.


    Selected as a finalist to exhibit "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, No. 9227" and
    "Lunch Amongst the Masters, No. 3884" in this
    International Exhibit of Contemporary Photography.

    28 March – 17 April 2013
    Private View Thursday 28 March
    153-155 Beach Street, 10300 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia,
    Email: info@chinahouse.com.my

    Galerie Huit, Arles, France
    July 2-Sept 23, 2012
    This exhibit will travel to Southeast Asia, Jan-Feb 2013

  • from BARBRA RILEY by Michael Odom, artist and art critic based in Commerce, TX.

    Barbra Riley’s photograph No. 4015 is a dark still life shot through with a Baroque light, what an art historian would call Carravaggesque tenebrism, after the Italian master of dramatic light and contrast. Its subject matter includes a number of expected elements like pears, a baguette, apples, and grapes. But also there are rather incongruous items (a cell phone, a digital camera with a glowing LCD panel) which reframe the tenebrism, making it look anachronistic and adding a magic realist, dream-like flavor to the picture.
    What’s going on here? One way to approach Riley’s work is to see how she has reframed art-historical information in two contemporary ways: she has taken a 500-year-old painting tradition into the realm of photography, and she has injected modern objects into the mix.
    This becomes both more clear and more complicated in photos like The Downfall @ Nightfall No. 2739 in which a still life is digitally stitched onto an unrelated background. Again Riley presents a Baroque still life complete with curling citrus peels, and again she includes contemporary objects like a compact fluorescent bulb (whose spiraling glass tube visually rhymes with the orange peel’s curve). Like a quilter, she pieced the elements of her composition together and then juxtaposed it with a Tuscan landscape.
    The results are startling. This is not a mere gimmick any more than early modernist collages or Surrealist experiments like the “Exquisite Corpse” were gimmicks. Associating the antique and the modern and abutting a composition against a distant environment invites a range of poetic readings. The experience of a place and the memory of that experience blend absurdly with art-historical references and the ordinary things that clutter our daily lives.
    Riley reintroduces the same foreground image in another photo, Still Life with Oranges, The Downfall No. 2265. But this time the environment has been switched from an Italian landscape to a late Gothic church interior decorated with Giotto’s wonderfully inventive frescos. The still life is the same, but its place is deeply changed. What was outside has come inside. What was present has slipped into the past, as we are summoned to imagine the space of the photograph in the context of the artist who first imagined the problems of describing pictorial depth on the plane of a picture.
    In other images, Riley locates various still life compositions before Raphael’s School of Athens, a medieval image of the damned in hell, and Brunelleschi’s famous dome in Florence. She has said that she took all the background photos she uses to fictionally locate her still life arrangements during trips abroad, which makes their fame into something more intimate. These sights (and sites) are integral to her biography.
    A rich sense of history pervades these photos. It is both a personal history and the history of the great “art conversation,” a conversation which has always progressed in words like any other, but also, and especially, in pictures. Talking about pictures is largely possible because pictures themselves can say things.