Ho-hum. A few weeks into my new existence as an artist in Somerset, I am still looking for a gallery to show my work and struggling to sort out proper studio space. I have a bit of space at the back of the house, but it is not really adequate for the size of paintings and amount of mess I make, and it is driving me towards working more with photography than painting for the time being
. I was rather spoiled, before, in Manchester, where studio space in old textile mills is abundant and cheap.
Looking around galleries in the region, it does look like finding a suitable place to exhibit will be an ongoing struggle. My paintings are mostly abstract and mostly analytical (of art and processes of seeing and making), which places them beyond the pale for most of the galleries I have seen.
I do not blame the galleries I have seen in the area for not being interested in my work – it would be a bad fit next to what they currently show. Clearly, there is a big art-consuming constituency out there that wants art that represents some familiar place in a faithful and endearing way. I don’t do that. But there is also, somewhere out there, a body of opinion that takes pleasure in art that does something else. I know this because I have sold a good deal of work in the past. The trick is to find those people...
So, anyway, in order to have something to show, I will put a photograph on here today. My photography, too, requires some explanation; I do two sorts:
‘proper’, professional, commercial photography (for which I have a separate site: www.stephenrileyphoto.co.uk
the sort of thing you see here, which, like the painting, is indifferent to popular taste and is analytical. Influenced by Richard Prince, Richard Wentworth and to an extent by Wolfgang Tillmans and William Eggleston, it is concerned with the places we live in, and the rolling, relentless interventions we make into them, by leaving things, advertising things, dropping things, damaging things and so on. I am particularly interested in seeing places where one 'message' or lot of 'messages' is met with other 'messages' which may or may not be congruent. Intended to be democratic, this body of work is an open-ended trawl and is to do with how public space is.
Stephen Riley: Art in Bruton, Somerset