Riley has been an avid quilt collector for the last 40 years. She  has dedicated much of her time to restoring,studying,exhibiting and discussing African American textiles. She has exhibited her collection in New York, Tokyo, Mingei Museum of International Folk Art ,Bellevue Museum in Washington. A large part of her collection is now permanently at the Smithsonian.

Through the process of acquiring, examining and restoring Riley has focused on the impassioned and evocative nature of these improvisational quilts coming out of African American communities . Riley was inspired by the freedom and unusual color choices used in these profound quilts. She saw what seemed more like modern Artworks than the traditional repetitive quilts. The construction of African American quilts has impacted her own work with textiles. Riley uses vintage fabrics in favor of the patina they
take on incorporating some of the life they have transitioned through. Making perfect lines or stitches is not Rileys goal. At times she’ll even quilt with string to emphasize the stitches. Having great respect for historic quilts she chooses to work without rules and leaves her emotions to guide her. The work is mostly abstract with a little tradition sprinkled in on occasion.

The series "Maps of Mendocino" is a little more literal than I normally work. My goal is to try and evoke a reaction to the village that is a feeling you might have walking around it. In this series I have focused on the water towers, tops of buildings and the overall colors I felt surrounded me.”

Exhibitions
Randolph Gallery / Chicago
Hyde Park Art Center / Chicago
Chicago Cultural Center / Chicago Perimeter Gallery / Chicago
Intuit / Chicago
Shseido Gallery / Tokyo
New York Outsider Show / New York
The New Politic / Petaluma Art Center,Ca. North Coast / Fort Bragg, Ca.

COBALT GALLERY

Corrine Ren Riley