Opening reception Thursday April 8, 6-8pm
The Spencer Brownstone Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibition of new paintings by British artist, James Rielly.
James Rielly’s work is propelled by his interest of drawing and painting the figure. Childhood, with it’s terrifying physical awkwardness and emotional intensity, is a reoccurring theme. Family life is examined via the distorted lens of hormonal excess. Through his canvases, Rielly allows us a glimpse into a range of disquieting relationships that lurk just underneath the veneer of propriety. References to lewd behavior, deformities and abnormalities are co-opted into his paintings, but the motive is not to shock. In this era of talk-show confessionals and tabloid revelations, James Rielly’s aim is to explore the boundaries between what should be revealed and what should remain hidden.
Rather than sketching from life, Rielly effectively uses composite, and manipulated images to expose the fractured and dysfunctional realities that infect our most ordinary interactions. By using a palette of saccharine pastels, Rielly imparts an atmosphere of calm detachment onto the canvas that is at odds with the intensity of his characters. This palette allows the images to resound much deeper than merely a prurient indulgence. Rielly says of his pictures, “They may comment on the world, but are not part of it.” A technique of splattering the canvas with paint, both unifies the picture and softens the focus, allowing the sediment of the images to seep into the subconscious.
Born in Wales in 1956, James Rielly holds an MA from Belfast College of Art. He has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Centre in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and at the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. In 1995, he was a MOMART Fellow at the Tate Gallery in Liverpool, receiving a prize in the John Moores exhibition. Throughout his oeuvre, James Rielly has focused exclusively on painting.
James Rielly had most recently participated in “Sensation,” at the Royal Academy in London last year and the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. This follows his participation in “Sorted” at IKON Gallery, Birmingham. He has had solo exhibitions at the Musee de Beaux Arts in Nantes in 1997 and at the Centre d’Art Neuchatel, Switzerland, in 1998.
His work has been acquired by the Tate Gallery and the Sintra Museu de Arte Moderna, Portugal. This is James Rielly’s first solo exhibition in the United States.