(b. 18 Aug 1963 d. 04 Aug 2020)
It is with deep sadness that we announce that Paul Riley passed away on 4th August 2020 after a hard fought battle with bile duct cancer. This website is currently being reconstructed as a memorial for Paul’s life as a greatly talented and admired British artist. There is a contact tab for any enquiries about his paintings.
“Paul Riley painted still lives. He did so throughout his career. That is not to say he set a vase of flowers on a table and so perfectly captured the dappled sunlight on silken petals, so that you could almost smell their fragrance. Paul painted still lives which resonated slightly further than the edge of his canvas. Like the greatest practitioners of the genre – from Zurburan to Morandi – he recognised that the “success” of a still life relied less on what is present in the painting than what is absent. Subject/object, composition and technique are relevant only as means to an end, as vehicles for emotional intensity.
Paul himself continued to employ the same small coterie of inanimate objects – bottles, pots, cubes – recurring in ostensibly random permutations. However, his later work marked a shift that was radical in its truest sense; dispensing with the conventional description of three-dimensional space, the object was now set against a divided colour field. In the process, he may be seen as welding the concerns of two camps of painting, which are at best idiosyncratic, if not positively antithetical. He elicited a “virtual” space from within a picture plane, which, by its nature, could not possibly hold it. And, what is more, the eye embraces it – even at six foot square.
Not only do these late paintings reconfigure accepted practice in that visual sense, the attendant tensions appear to have also enhanced their emotive eloquence. Paul himself likened the paintings to the fleeting, expectant silence prior to a particularly aggressive piece of music. A heady moment suffused with anticipation and barely suppressed energy. Whatever the simile, they transcended the ephemerality and passivity of the subject, becoming intense, scintillating meditations in paint”
Studied Fine Art BA Hons degree at Gloucester College of Art 1982-85 and Post Graduate Diploma at the Royal Academy Schools London, 1986-89. One-man shows in London include New Grafton Gallery, The Blue Gallery and most recently, Sarah Myerscough Fine Art.
Works in collections include The Prudential, Clifford Chance and P & O Cruises as well as numerous private collections in the UK and internationally.