States of Consciousness: An Exhibit by Charles Riley

by | Dec 31, 2015 | Arts and Entertainment

Detail of “WWII Wedding” by Charles Riley.

Charles Riley loves art and literature. He has incorporated both into his October 2014 featured exhibit at Art First Gallery.

“For this show, “States of Consciousness,” I thought I would do something other than pleasing line and color,” Riley said.  “I wanted to focus more on the human condition and related states of mind.”

Dr. Riley has a doctoral degree in art education from Columbia. His graduate degrees from the university are in studio art and education.

He credits two family members with inspiring his artistry. “My aunt, Jenny Riley, worked as a commercial artist in Richmond, where I spent my childhood,” he said. “She taught me at an early age about painting and drawing.”  His love of literature came from his father. Riley’s paintings, drawings and mixed media explore the convergence of art, literature and experience.

“I wanted the works in this show to include words,” Riley said. “I wanted to present images as well as stories and clues related to the human condition and finding meaning in our lives.”

While at Columbia, Riley studied Tai Chi with Master Da Liu. He’s been practicing ever since, and for the last 15 years he’s also been teaching with Fredericksburg Parks and Recreation. “Tai Chi is a practice that helps the practitioner connect with the creative energy in the universe,” Riley said. 

“I seek a balance between the mechanics of technology, nature and what it is to be human,” he said. “My expressive artwork combines literary and visual treasure from Eastern and Western culture in a very human experience.”

“WWII Wedding,” an acrylic on canvas, is one of the works in his October show. “WWII Wedding is meant to reflect on the effects of time and memory as well as the continuation of life in the midst of war,” Riley said. “Homer Recites the Last War” – an oil painting in the exhibition – “is a meditation on the ultimate end of war and the tragic loss of communication between people.”

Art First Gallery is located at 824 Caroline St. in downtown Fredericksburg.


This article was originally published in the October 2014 issue of Front Porch Fredericksburg. It is republished here with permission.

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