Enrico Riley’s (b. 1973, Westbury, CT) paintings investigate violence and hope in historical and contemporary cultural traditions in African American culture. The artist uses formal techniques to expose the limitations of linear narratives, including fractured bodies, hidden figures, ambiguous environments, and cropped frames. Enrico Riley’s new body of work expands on the rich and complex traditions of African American music, especially jazz. Influenced by his jazz musician grandfather and the jazz records of his father, Riley is interested in jazz as a symbol for creativity, inventiveness, and celebration. He thinks of his musicians in relation to the landscape, as having agency to shape an environment by playing in nature, in casual and formal clothing, having business to take care of, and things to do.
Enrico Riley is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rome Prize in Visual Arts, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Prize in Painting, and holds the George Frederick Jewitt Professorship in Art at Dartmouth College. Riley has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the American Academy in Rome, the University of New Hampshire and Jenkins Johnson Projects. He has participated in recent group exhibitions at “State of the Art 2020” at Crystal Bridges Museum of Art and “Black Bodies on the Cross” at The Hood Museum. His work is in institutions including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Hood Museum, and Nasher Sculpture Center. Enrico Riley has an MFA in painting from Yale University and a BA in Visual Studies from Dartmouth College. Riley lives and works in Vermont and New Hampshire.