The running thread connecting all of my work is a desire to harness the infinite within a finite space, to solidify the ephemeral and to visualize what I struggle to verbalize. This has been my goal throughout my career even as my work has shifted in appearance and shifted in media. I spent many years working in the abstract before touching upon my latest subject matter, the landscape. To my surprise, the landscape is proving to be the most infinite and ephemeral subject of all. I credit Italy’s Turano Valley for this awakening, and while my current paintings may present the Valley’s water, mountains, and sky, they do not represent this place or a particular moment in time. Instead, they intend to capture how it is a solid mountain can be disappeared by a wispy cloud or how a clump of trees can go from green to red to indigo over the course of dinner. My goal in these paintings is to actualize, on the paper or canvas surface, the phenomena of nature that are routine yet profound, simple yet indescribable, and real yet impermanent. To that end, spontaneity, chance, and receptivity to the unexpected or unknown are central to my practice.


Born 1977 in Wareham, MA.

In 1999 Riley received BFA in Painting from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. In 2004 he received an MFA in Sculpture from the University of Pennsylvania.

His work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions throughout the Northeast including; Danese/Corey in New York City, TSA NY in Brooklyn, NY, Gallery 263 in Cambridge, MA, Lamont Gallery in Exeter, NH, Arthur Ross Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, The Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy, NY, and several others.

He has received grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and the Berkshire Taconic Foundation. Riley has been an artist in residence at the Joan Mitchell Center, Yaddo, and the Vermont Studio Center.

Riley currently lives in Washington DC and maintains a studio in Colle di Tora, Italy.