An installation of new works by Anna Riley, including collaborative workshops with Project 404.
Opening Reception: Wednesday, May 1, 6-8pm
Anna Riley’s site-specific installation, Into the Same Someplace, presents one facet of the artist's continued research into the history of colorless glass — the clear screen. From the production of the window pane to the LCD screen, Riley is interested in the ambition for architectures and technologies that are ever more precise, thin, transparent. Her focus on the pane begins with the creation of the roundel (the earliest window glass form) and follows through various and peculiar technologies that have blown, drawn, floated, and fused flat sheets, leading into a meditation on the contemporary phone screen.
Mining historic recipes and engineering texts, she emphasizes the component materials involved in the chemistry of colorlessness. To foreground the geology of production, Riley presents not only the glass itself, but the sands, sodiums, and calciums that make up the material’s foundation. She incorporates the myriad of adjacent materials involved in the pane’s manufacture — the necessary fluidity of tin, portions of ceramic corroded crucible.
Riley has implemented experimental recipes to modify the minerality of the recycled beer bottle — working toward reversing the coloration from amber to clear. Among her motives, she considers the entangled tensions between the bottle and the pane, and notions of refuse, purity, voluminosity, flatness. Though this exhibition foregrounds the flat pane, the bottle does not lose attention. Further considerations of the bottle (bottle as hero, the carrier bag) may emerge.
Riley’s finished artworks often take the form of the codex or page, evoking the tension between tacit and recorded knowledge, imperfect categories between which material phenomena often fall. Through these sculptures she means to highlight the particular kind of activity that happens at the window and the screen — an emotional and social locating of oneself that can be introspective or distractive, wondrous or numb. Riley foregrounds both the geologic origins of production and our emotional interaction with the flat plane, seeking to understand this technology holistically — from extraction to distraction.
During the course of the exhibition a series of attentional practice workshops will be hosted in the gallery in collaboration with Project 404, led by writer and educator Leonard Nalencz. Project 404 presents strategies and practices to help us remain fully, creatively engaged with the world and ourselves while using the very devices that threaten us with passivity. These workshops, held in the Window Gallery, will transition our attention between the phone screen, the artworks present in the space, and eachother in our collaborative act of looking.
Dates for Project 404 practices, ranging from late May into June, will be announced soon.
‘Into the Same Someplace’ is sponsored, in part, but the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York Department of Cultural Affairs, administers by the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).
Some readings and conversations that have excited this work include: Lucille Clifton’s whose side are you on?, Xiao Situ’s Emily Dickinson’s Windows, the Study Center for Group Work, Dr. Jane Cook’s deep and glassy poeticism (please see her dissertation Redox Dynamics in Multicomponent, Iron-bearing Silicate Melts and Glasses: Application to the Float-Glass Processing of High-Temperature Silicate Glassmelts, 1998), and Stephen J. Eskilson’s The Politics of Glass.
Anna Riley is a visual artist concerned with material chemistry, ‘new’ materialism, and the ethical questions of the built environment. Her research, tacit and often dependent on experimentation, has been enabled by residencies and fellowships at the Museum of Arts and Design (NY), Dieu Donné Papermill (NY), the Milcom Memorial Reading Room and Attention Library at the Mana Contemporary (NJ), Dirt & Debt at Residency Unlimited (NY), the University of Texas-Arlington (TX), the Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass (NY), the David Whitehouse Research Residency at the Rakow Library at the Corning Museum of Glass (NY), Urban Glass (NY), the Creative Glass Center of America at WheatonArts (NY), Wave Pool Gallery (OH), Mildred’s Lane (PA), and the Thicket (GA). She graduated with a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2014, and is a current MFA candidate at UC Berkeley 2021.
Anna Riley's Into the Same Someplace, is presented through UrbanGlass’ Window Gallery / Community Activation Project, an open call for emerging artists to present exhibitions, performances and other community-engagement programs in our ground-level Rockwell Street windows.
Public programs at UrbanGlass are generously supported by the Agnes Varis Trust, the Metropolitan Contemporary Glass Group, the Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, the Robert Lehman Foundation, the Seth Sprague Educational and Charitable Foundation, the William Talbott Hillman Foundation, the Windgate Charitable Foundation, Wolf Kahn & Emily Mason Foundation, and many individual donors.