A link to my....

Monday, 20 December 2010

Friday, 29 October 2010

Eclipse - Performance for Ex Deo Libertas

Eclipse - Performance for Ex Deo Libertas from Louise Riley on Vimeo.

Documentation of a performance piece I created for the show 'Ex Deo Libertas', for The Life is Art Foundation in Sonoma, California.

The piece creates a parallel universe, the complete focus between the artist and the model creates this otherworldly intimacy where nothing else exists. The remnants of this communication being recorded/stitched in the 'portal lense'.
The flying nature of it, floating above the crowd, a dreamlike self, above a waking self, plays on notions of reality.

Sunrise Sunfall

A short film, in front of my embroidery 'Raw Vision' created for the show 'Ex Deo Libertas'. The focus of all my work for this show was looking at things from different perspectives, inspired by the controversiality of working on a marijuana farm whose aim is to generate support for the artists of Life is Art Foundation. Anything controversial essentially means that it can be viewed from a variety of perspectives. Raw Vision's inception was the focusing on the purest human view, the retina flips the image we see over and it is the brain that flips it back over. Therefore upside down is the view before it has been judged, the tiny tiny portal of the present.The beauty of the farm, its gardens, land and view was gaspful, it took me about a minute to get my pens out, plot myself into the vegetable patch and draw and draw and breath in, throughout my stay I was always taking more in, delving deeper into my exploration. It had me under its spell entirely.

The poem was written in a hotel room at 2am the day after I left the farm, where I was feeling overly whelmed and fiercely inspired to write. The writing is below, for those who want to take a closer look.

Sunrise Sunfall

Where have I been?
Pioneering in fresh freedom.
Rolling around rulelessly and rolickful,
hope and belief overflowing the coffee cup

We put our golden, swollen hearts on stakes
and marked the land with our treasurous experiences,
so that the gods and extra terrestrials
will see the history of happening on this real map.

It was real wasn't it. wasn't it?
I am not sure.
My conception of this concept is so blurry.
So many ways there are to look at one thing.

I took my glasses off when I arrived,
saw what I could
and filled the rest with imagination, intuition and gut
and it was a wonderful wonderland.

Her too long embraces completely disarmed me,
it felt as natural as my birdie-beating heart could allow
and when the warm, just filled, belly pressed against mine,
well it felt like immaculate conception.

And you, I looked into the double eclipse in your eyes
and so much entranced was I, that I jolted when you blinked.
If i was able to put into words the adventures I had on your face
well, you may have imposed limits, or charged entry.

Yeah, headshaking human beauty everywhere.
There was her sweet sweetness and big smallness
and his squeeze and rasp and strengthful softness
and her golden shining hair and campful clarity.

Her wit and walk and wavy ponytail
and her moving mouth and goddess gate
and his moving body and weighing mind
and his gentle way, melting my sometimes brash boldness.

Her smooth parallelagram face and rainbowchain gums
and his wildly practical ticktocking mind
and his mutual love of logic all
and his girly-guyly dimple smile

My loves.
Could I put a photo in a frame on my bedside table,
well that would be as forlorn and flaccid as a
butterfly with a pin in its once flightful self.

I could get a laser
and ceremonially trace the rim light of
the moon making a fineline landscape
on the cusp of your hair?

Yeah, there were scapes everywhere,
sea of knee scapes
glass menagerie scapes
bathing beautyscapes,

all the way to the peripheryscape
and thats when we were cougars
and then foxes
and then wolves.

Yeah, we were beasts
and now I have no idea
which is my totem animal,
since I channeled so many up on that hill.

I was there, I snorted and leapt,
dived and made quick ferral decisions,
my paws ruffled through chickens with you,
bones and flesh and wishes a-flying.

I know savour is the answer,
but I am not there yet,
I have watched the future become the present,
but I can not yet let the present become past,

so fresh the affair,
a storm flashing and waving,
epiphanating around in my mind
and thrashing around to my core.

Can I stand up on the table and scream?
I want to cry and sob
and say that I am covered in splinters and scars
inside and out,

because I have loved deeply
and been deeply all,
deeply this and deeply that
and it lingers still,

though it suddenly feels pornogrpahic,
something to hide under my coat.
Just like the obscene view of the city
through my glasses back weighing on my nose.

I am not free,
I just drank from the cup,
and the cuppeth overfloweth.
and I knoweth

because if I was free I could just flow
and I wouldn't know the difference
between one life and the next,
but then would this have been such a miraculous pleasure stream?

Would I have felt the sunshine shine right through my transluscent self?
Would I have laughed so thoroughly I thought I might
turn inside out or shed a skin
with the writhing contractions happening from within?

I did fly,
I flew above all of you and saw things from the sky,
I turned the world upside down for a while.
I made the sunset with the might of tiny steps.

I was free, it was me, I am redhanded
I feasted on joy and soft-spot stew,
I felt love I still can't conceive of how to deserve,
I had my desert before dinner

and I don't know how I will ever recover ....

Friday, 1 October 2010

The magical world of up the scaffolding at Eiffel Society

The Catalysts - The God and Goddess of all Creation
photo - Lisa Lozano
photo - Luke Gilford

Visible only to the keenest of attentions, CATALYSTS floats high overhead in the skylight above Eiffel Society's three teared ceiling. Embroidered in thread on tulle, its figures change with light and appear to float. In response to my enquiry as to whom I should embroider to be the God and Goddess of all creation, Kirsha said: Mythological characters of course. Who is the architypal couple that represents all you are thinking about? I said: No, they have to be living people. Kirsha: What?!! Why?!! I said: That is just the rule! They must be living. K: Well... it should be the founders of the New Orleans Contemporary Art Center then.
And that is who was embroidered.

 It was so beautiful up there, all these floating lines and shapes with the sunset flooding through, the air was so hot and still, it felt like how I imagine being inside a bubble might feel. I was pretty terrified at first, it was so high and deliriously hot that it made you feel a little unsteady, sweaty hands don't inspire confidence, but slowly I got into it and by the end, I was hanging off the sides without a blink. One fear down, a few more to go.

.....and everybodies favourite, the back, bravely photographed by Lisa Lozano on the roof of the building!

the making of the shroud and studio peek

This is my wonderful studio where all the art happens.

The beginnings of the cosmic starburst to shroud Gene Nathans lovely pearly body.

The moment inspiration flowed.

The little birdie in a nest, making art of her own.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Moment Androidella Became a Real Girl

It is a work in progress. It slotted in nicely to the Exquisite Corpse show, but after spending a day away from it, it all slotted into place how I want it to grow and evolve....more on that later...

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

'Source' at Eiffel, by day and by night

Photos by Luke Gilford

Monday, 16 August 2010


Gallery Superstore

02 September 2010, 18.00 - 22.00
Dalston Superstore, 117 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB

Emma Gibson, Fred Butler, Louise Riley, Anna Bruder, Celia Arias, Jay Barry Matthews, Moses Powers, Adam Vergette, Clare Whittingham, Martin Wollerstam, Justine Josephs, Cordelia Weston, Alex Noble.

The Gallery Superstore invites artists for it’s fourth group show, to explore the themes and practices of the parlor game originating ‘Exquisite Corpse’. A name given by the Surrealists when they first played the game also known as ‘Consequences’. In it’s original form it was a play of sentences and adjective nouns. Finding the practice playful and enriching, the surrealist developed it into more of an art form that has been celebrated to this day.
And can now be seen as drawing, collage and sculpture and inspires artists to fashion designers and photographers.

The morbidness of the games title seems to push through when inspiring previous art works of this theme, moving away from the playful to the more subversive, as seen in the work of Hans Bellmer’s ‘poupee’ series and the sculptures of Louise Bourgeois.
The art of creating figures from a varied number of objects gave a way to represent characters and symbolize parts of their psyche with effective and sometimes disturbing results. The random objects used may reflect the jumbled assortment of ideas and emotions manifested by the artist. To show physical strength or weakness as well as mental intent.

With the modern obsessions for body modification, ground breaking scientific developments and constant referencing to the past and the future. This exhibition gives artists scope to produce a figure that is diverse and unique, surreal and hap hazard or meticulous in creation.
The concept gives access to explore gender and social roles with the freedom to be playful as well as serious in discussion, what will we learn about the artist by what they create?

The exhibition seeks to be 3D installation lead, with the artists life size ‘cadavers’ hanging from the Superstore meat hooks, as an eclectic morgue of objects of intrigue.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

guidance to a fractured swan

The piece in the 'Strange Birds' exhibition.

Based on a love letter written from F. Scott Fitzgerald to his wife Zelda when she was in a mental institution:

"....and the only sadness is living without you....
You and I have been happy, we haven't been happy just once, we've been happy a thousand times. The chances that the spring, that's for everyone, like the popular songs, may beloong to us too- i see the swan floating on it and - I find it to be you and you only. But swan, float lightly because you are a swan, because by the exquisite curve of your neck the gods gave you some special favour, and even though you fractured it running against some man made bridge, it healed and you sailed onwards. Forget the past - what you can of it, and turn about and swim back home to me, to your haven forever and ever - even though it may seem like a dark cave at times and lit with torches of fury, it is the best refuge for you - turn gently in the waters through which you move and sail back."

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Show at the Good Children Gallery

Strange Birds

Opening Saturday August 14, 6 - 9 p.m.

Exibition Dates: August 14 - September 12

Works on paper by Brad Benischek, The DNA Factory, Heather Vinz,
John Henry Kelly, Kim Jenkins, Louise Riley and Generic Art Solutions.

Featuring the video, Prehistoric Landscape, by Lucy Newman.

part 1.5 i am the black gold of the sun.

A sneak preview of the making of my piece 'Source', at Eiffel Society. There was a couple of excellent photographers around taking pictures of the show when everything was up, I look forward to receiving those sooo much, but until then, there are these.

As you can see, beer and beds were consumed i n the making of this work ;-)

Special thank you to Tina Rautio and Jessie Vogal the interns that slaved away for me, Tina is a work horse and a very special lady. I COULD not have realised this piece without her.


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Eiffel Society - First installment

What can I say NOLA?
The finest time yet.

Energetic enthusiasmic transformations, wild enterprise, so intimate, generous easy heartfelt friendships, lusty tenderness, sitting in a car listening to great songs, to dancing in surreal courtyards, to nightswimming and dayswimming in salt water, to flashing tampon strings, to conquering fears sweating guts out working 35 feet in the air, to confessing, to weepsoaked massages, to the battery powered record player, to the return of backflips, to being a touch butch, to painting it black, synchronised breakfast and burps, to finding the solutions, to cold room moonshine, to the perky walk, to diving for oyster necklaces, to burning that wood, to sleeping in the 'Supercondux'' to 'kuh kuh puh' to turning the bath to ice tea, to the flashbacks and to the full open belly laughing, to re-releasing, to 'will you float me?', to silk dress waterbombs, to hairstyle curtains, to that glorious view,
to the mutual quest for universal beauty,
so much joy.

To the Life is Art Foundation, here is to always saying yes.
I am somwhere between elation and heartbreak, bittersweet.
But my little baby Nova sang me a spontaneous beautiful lovesong,
so I guess it is just the great beginning of a shift>>>>....

photos taken by Kerry Maloney

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

so here is a sneak preview of the god and goddess of all creation, i don't normally do sneak previews, but i have been sewing like a crazy person, since i decided it was a good idea to unpick the ladies entire face when i had less than 24 hours before i left and had to fit in a school play and goodbye with my little girl. i am off home to pack and then off to new orleans in the morning to install these beauties in the ceiling panel of the eiffel society restaurant.

so more later....

Monday, 12 July 2010

prints for sale

For my last show I did a series of prints on pearlescent paper, the following are in a series of 50 and are available. If you are interested, just drop me a line on my email louise.riley@gmail.com and we can work it out, if you are close come and visit me in my studio! If you are far, I will give you a quote for postage. The first 1 is £30 framed (27.5cm x 22.5cm), the next 4 are £40 framed (32cm x 42cm) . The photos were taken with my point and shoot (not ideal) so everything looks a bit green, in reality, they are a sort of champagney cream.


'Family Tree'

'Flesh & Bone'


'Mother of Pearl'

The piece de resistence is the final one, a limited edition of 10 at £150 (40.5cm x 50.5cm)
It is called 'Cordelia' and is based on an Indian proverb she shared with me:
the soul would have no rainbow if the eye had no tears - tribe unknown

The colour is hand done, so each one has its own unique quality, the jewel tears are attached to the glass, turning into mini chandeliers hanging from the wood in the frame. This photo does not do it justice, I will have to borrow a decent camera!

Sunday, 11 July 2010


Mia and Cordelia hanging out together in my studio, everytime I looked at them, I got a little thrill of happiness.

Friday, 25 June 2010

For the sewers out there....

It is a shame that the word sewer is the same for the word about the pipes full of shit that run under the ground, but embroiderer is too specific and, crafter too broad and so often not appropriate. seamstress, no. People of thread. Sounds like a cult, I like it.
So for the people of thread, this article made me laugh, since I have sewn through my own finger twice and am developing a hunchback, I know how easy it is too mame oneself while in the mode.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010


I have been in New Orleans for 8 days working and living in a glass octagon, being part of an incredible artists residency that just about blew my mind. In fact it has quite stumped me how to write about it, since it all feels like a weird dream, but I will try.

I will begin with a picture.

This building used to be a restaurant in the Eiffel tower, but it was dismantled into 11,000 pieces and brought to New Orleans. I stayed in this building nearly the entire time, eating, sleeping, working, drinking, peeing with something called a p-style, of which I had varying success. Part of the piece that I made will go into the skylight at the top. It is two embroideries of the amazing Bob Tannen and Jeanne Nathan, artist and creative campaigner, respectively. They were the founding members of the Contemporary Arts Centre in New Orleans.
They let me into their home and photograph them naked after they laid out a table of breakfast, having only been informed that I would be arriving the previous night. When I told Bob that I envisaged them as taking on the the role of the Mother and Father of all creation he scoffed, but when I looked around their house it felt like a rather true description. It seemed like everything Bob touched turned to art.

The people I was working with, Kirsha Kaechele, Pamala Bishop, Tora Lopez, Elliot Coon, Rya Kleinpeter, Daphane Park, Anne Koch, Amanda, what joy.

And the shocking emotion of the collaborative performance piece which will follow soon will be etched in my memory forever.


Friday, 7 May 2010

Flesh & Bone opening

Dear Gang,

The opening for the show has been and gone. If you didn't make it, it is on for 6 weeks and I am really pleased with how it looks in the space. It is such a great bar and does delicious food up to 8-9pm, so there are a million reasons to visit. I will endeavour to spend a serious bit of time photographing everything, but for now, just a sneak preview. The photos of the 'Light Perspective' didn't come out very well! Shock horror! It was up for one night only, so that is a damn shame, you can't even see the sun.... but I know if it gets exhibited again being in a black room was VERY cool. So here
they are....

Bea W, Lurky Me and my darling, Novabug
Cordelia -
"The soul would have no rainbow if the eye had no tears" - Native American proverb

ps- If it isn't obvious, the tears turn into chandeliers....
pps- that I proudly made myself out of bicycle wheels...

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

SHOWSHOWSHOW invite and press release

An erratic mess of desperate embroidery pulls you into Louise Rileys intense and compelling compostitions, built up by layers of fleshy colours and soft textures.
Drawing back the figurative element of her work becomes apparent to reveal surreal narratives with dream-like qualities, subjects caught in waking and slumber, or somwehere in betweenthe two; when waking carries with it the symbolism of that nights adventure.
Bodies sprawl over old matresses which are the canvas for her skin-puncturing needle strokes. Her threads corse through these tattered and patterned backdrops, reminiscent of a retro domesticity.
Louise's body of 3Dwork is extensive, but her hand writing and media mainly work within the practices of hand and craft work. Her stiching is like the messy brush-strokes of an impressionist painter, mixing colours and directions to create a confused yet realistic palette.
Contrasting her chosen materials which generally lean towards the familiar and domestic, Louise's concept practice is deeply scientific, but it is the science of nature to which she obsesses; molecules, chemicals and reproductive systems.
These themes resonate through oursleves and through her work to a point of normality, as they are present, we may barely notice them at all, because it is the naturalism and emotion of her work that is apparent. So the contrast becomes a partnership with the familiar.
This gives a depth and organic movement to her work and the characters she portrays.
The melancholy undertone to her work, partnered with her romantic and decorative sensibility results in some of the most unique and breathtaking art you will ever see.
Not to be misssed!

Show curated by Alex Noble a very multi-talented man: Blog

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Joetta Maue interviewed me for the Mr X Stitch blog, have a read here:
Have a look at her blog too it has some BEautiful work on it:

Thursday, 1 April 2010


Do you remember when I got that commission to do a portrait of Bob Marley? Well in my usual spirit I was sewing until about 5mins before I left to catch the plane to deliver it to Virginia and never got any good photographs. I just received this the other day from the lady it was for. She was crazy about him and even had a mural painted along her basement wall that had two scuba-diving Bobs swimming in an underwater scene! I did a bit of research on him as I was a bit Bob'd out, if I heard Buffalo Soldier again I would have stuck pins in my eyes, but I watched some films on youtube of him performing and it was electric, with his hair swinging about like wild snakes.