Carin Riley

While a grid is often Carin Riley’s point of departure and part of her modernist heritage, her works are more expressive. There is a vertical / horizontal infrastructure, but the lines are not locked in. Rather, they are perpetually in a state of transition. One continuous gesture that builds on itself with restraint and a natural progression of linear form. 

Her watercolors are abstract in configuration, the surfaces divided into quadrants, but within them the body lingers as image and afterimage. It is scribbled over and camouflaged but present as ghostly forms that are drawn from mythos. Her abstractions are often anchored in the world of mythology. She takes particular interest in the weaver and warrior Athena. 

In her series Smoke Gold and Green, warm blacks and terre verte are the prevailing colors, but a metallic thread, gold in color, weaves through the surface. Her works are clean, lucid and elusive, adhering to the Aristotelian belief in moderation of all things.


Carin Riley was born in 1949 in New York City and grew up on the South Shore of Long Island.

Carin Riley is a New York-based artist. She attended the School of Visual Arts in 1967—while there, she had the rare opportunity to study with minimalists such as Richard Serra, Robert Ryman, Robert Mangold, Brice Marden and Richard Artschwager. She went on to receive her MFA in painting from The Art Institute of Chicago in 1973. 

Together with her husband David, she started a successful commercial photography business; among Riley & Riley’s clients were Mercedes Benz, Brooks Brothers, Lancôme, Knoll, Bacardi and Baccarat  Their work has also been featured in publications such as The New York Times, GQ, Elle and the Wall Street Journal.  

Carin Riley’s work can be found in the permanent collection of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and the Arkansas Arts Center gifted by Sally and Wynn Kramarsky. She is currently represented by the Weber Fine Art Gallery in Greenwich, CT and SILAS VON MORISSE GALLERY, NY. 

Selected Exhibition

Unfolding Dialogue: Four Voices, groupshow, Amy Simon Fine Art, Westport


Adaptive Traits, soloshow, SMUDAJESCHECK Galerie, Ulm, Germany
Paintings and Drawings, soloshow, Weber Fine Arts, Greenwich, CT

Prophetic Drawings, groupshow, George and Jorgen, London, United Kingdom
UNDERCOVER, groupshow, Slag Contemporary, Brooklyn, NY
Rapunzel, groupshow, Queens College Art Center, New York, NY

Utopia, groupshow, Queens College Art Center, New York, NY
Study for Chinese Maple, groupshow, Site-specific wall drawing for Ligne Roset, New York, NY
Unfreedom, groupshow, SMUDAJESCHECK Galerie, Ulm, Germany

Out of Line, groupshow, Slag Gallery, New York, NY.


Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection, a gift of Sally and Wynn Kramarsky
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas.