Erin Riley is a textile artist from Philadelphia.
“I am a tapestry weaver using the traditional methods of weaving and using hand dyed wool combined with personal imagery and images sourced from Facebook, Google and other sharing sites. I am obsessed with how people communicate, harass, exploit and express themselves through the internet, text messaging, or emailing. I have been researching how young women, are developing in a time when sexuality and sharing has become so casual and in some situations catastrophic.
“My interests in this stem from trying to understand the differences between myself and my two sisters who have struggled with drug and alcohol addiction but realized that we all ended up with addictive traits. I am interested in uncovering the root of these addictions, be they insecurities stemming from absent or ill equipped fathers, coping mechanisms to deal with trauma and death or psychological.
“Young people are growing up in an increasingly detached environment and are impacting each other emotionally without being aware. Social networking, emailing and text messaging is similar to partying, sleeping around while under the influence and driving drunk, all actions that can affect someone in very serious ways; death, arrest, overdose, unplanned pregnancy, std, etc but in the moment are fleeting and thoughtless.
“I am using images that are of a moment in time when anything could happen, it could be a nude photograph being passed to a lover and then deleted, or it could be passed around via email, an image of drug paraphernalia that might be from a regular night partying or could be the night the users were arrested or killed. I am thinking about actions and the obstacles or objects/tools that play major roles in determining fates.”
I really love Erin’s work. The combination of elegant textiles with social media imagery hits the spot; these fleeting, sometimes thoughtless, moments that are immortalised online gain extra significance when translated into woven form. Much like Kathy Halper’s recent work, these pieces make us reconsider these contemporary images of our time. Will we look back on these times with the same nostalgia as we do of the images of the 20th Century?
Erin regulars shows her work around the US; she is currently featuring in group show at Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia and has a solo exhibition at Guerrero Gallery in San Francisco from 14th April to 5th May.
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