Gil Riley is an MFA painting candidate at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In the Fall of 2011 she was featured in a group show, “My Ghost at Home,” which was titled after one of her paintings at SAIC’s Parallax Gallery. The show featured work by Riley and two of her MFA candidate peers, Josh Dihle and Brian Rush. Riley’s figures have an intense pathos. Her paintings begin as paint drips or pours that she then organizes into lyrically emotive characters, combining elements of chance and deliberate mark making. During a studio visit Riley discusses painting, boobs and the artistic drive.
The artist as “anti-hero” is a modern concept. Think Jackson Pollock in his bookless studio, chain-smoking, and degrading a sacred canvas with plasters of paint and shoe prints — an encounter that is the direct inversion of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam.” According to an interview with curator Josh Dihle on the Student Union Gallery’s website, “Anti-Heroic” was the working title of the group show at Parallax Gallery in September. The name ultimately chosen for the exhibition was “My Ghost at Home,” but the aesthetic hedonism remains.