June 7th, 2016

Bex Rox Interviews artist Bruce Riley

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Chicago based artist Bruce Riley is a resin artist, creating experimental pieces by embracing his mistakes and allowing the colourful process of his work to flow. By dripping, mixing and layering paint on his shiny black canvass his creations come to life.

Abstract, psychedelic and bursting with colour we needed to find out more..

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration from observation of as much as I can take in. In the studio inspiration comes from just being there in front of work in progress. Trying to start from the same place every day helps keep things fresh. I know the work is evolving but I never see it in the moment. But it is the hard work that allows for unforeseen change that keeps me painting. The paintings evolve as individuals defining the direction the whole body of work. It’s exciting for me to get involved with each piece. They feel at times as though they grow themselves.

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How did you discover painting with resin?

I was using resin to fix some material problems I was having. Unknown to me paint was spilled on a finished resin layer. At the time the resin only went on top of a paint layer. The next day I saw the accident and tried to remove the paint. The bond between paint and resin was too strong to be removed so I started painting on the resin layer. That discovery started the multi layer work I’m doing now.

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How has your process developed with time?

My process has never really stuck in one place. It is more of a long slow slur that keeps morphing. The most notable development would be my ever-expanding knowledge of materials. That quantifiable aspect is like an ever-increasing bubble. And I do love the craft, but the “meaning” of the work doesn’t seem to have ever changed. There is this current I try to plug into that is constant and difficult to keep in focus. It is about unknowing and doesn’t seem to be centred around humans.

What factors define the outcome of the painting or is it all done at random?

Material considerations occupy a lot of thought and time defining the look of a painting. While I’m busy with the paint a freedom to experiment and encourage accidents takes place. That lack of intent or as you say randomness guides the knowledge I bring to the painting.

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Do you find the repetition of your work to be meditative?

I do find the ritual and repetition of painting to be meditative but not in the conventional sense. It is more of an active meditation. The doing and the thinking are observed without value judgement. It is a state of being that spills over into my non-studio time.

What message would you like your work to convey?

When you are physically in front of my paintings I would be happy if the viewers lost themselves for a bit in visual exploration. I don’t know what people see when they are only looking at a reproduction. I’m still trying to figure out the best documentation.

Do you have any exciting plans for the future?

Going into the studio in the morning is exciting. Other than that there is going to be art related travel in the next year.

Is there a story that we should know that has helped with your career as an artist?

There really isn’t one story that sticks out. I did a lot of hiking in wilderness areas back in the day. That quiet self reliance is of great value to me.

Have you ever thought about sculpture or developing your work to create interiors?

I’ve never been interested in making sculpture. I did do an installation of paintings once. It was multi layered from floor to ceiling. My other creative outlet is sound.

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We love your work which truly resonates with us, what words to you think define Bex Rox?

I would not dare to define Bex Rox. Sounds too reductive.

Your life mantra?

Take risks. (Within reason)

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Watch Bruce’s method here  http://www.brucerileyfilm.com