Rebecca Riley

Artist's Statement

I am fascinated by the dynamic systems evident everywhere around us. From the very smallest, molecular level to the largest level of the cosmos, I am intrigued by the structures and patterns these systems exhibit, the relationships between their parts, and the way the interactions of these parts affect a systemís growth. I therefore create paintings that are the results of a systemic process.

By establishing initial conditions and rules for painting up front, I set up a painting system. I set the system in motion via the act of painting. Like a scientist approaching a series of experiments, I am unable to predict the outcome of the painting at the outset. When the work is complete, I am often surprised by the results. I learn from them and they inform my next painting.

The linear structures within the paintings are often circular, radiating from the center like a mandala. They echo the circles that are such a common shape for systems to take. Cells, the circulatory system, our solar system, the shape of our planet, the shape of our milky way are all circular, they have a center core from which energy radiates outward. As I observe a finished painting I am able to read a history of evolution in the development of a growing system. In the process of painting, the elements within the painting interact more and more closely and move from an assembly of loosely connected parts to an integrated whole. I use maps in my most recent work as a structure from which to build a pattern.

Using the same systemic process Iíve used in previous paintings such as the Big Bang paintings Ė where I make all of my decisions up front, and not while painting - I am able to reveal a pattern of growth and development in a city or an area of the earth under a city. So I have come to see each city as a kind of living organism, its growth directed, misdirected, and sometimes out of the control of its human inhabitants.
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