Erin M. Riley and Hilary Pecis interview about their new bodies of work at Guerrero Gallery – written and photographed by Michael Cuffe for Warholian
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Erin M. Riley just premiered her latest body of work “Forgotten in a File” juxtaposed alongside artist Hilary Pecis’ “Consensus”.
Riley focuses on finding found digital photos that were shared on the internet, taken for private eyes only. The body of work plays upon the internal voyeur, paired with exceptional looming techniques from the artist. Riley’s use of the loom to create a visual discussion on modern day digital relationships in tapestry creates an interesting blend of new and old world interactions.
Hilary Pecis meanwhile dives right into the digital domain of the internet, utilizing search engines at times in the creation of a particular image. This is provides the viewer with an opportunity to take a more in depth look into the use of the internet in art, and shows how artists and technology are creating a new genre for themselves. Pecis’ work also touches on our human relationships both in and outside of electronic domains, and how much visual information we’re actually consuming.
We sat down with the artists recently, to discuss their work and process…
Warholian’s Michael Cuffe: Can you tell us a little about your particular aesthetic, and the subject matter you focus on in this particular body of work?
Artist Hilary Pecis: The digital collages were compiled from images I found through search engines. For the most part the pieces were created by using a single word or phrase to find collections of images. I then took those images and put together a piece by using different methods. I enjoy the democratic inclusion of images from Internet users. It gives a general consensus for the word or phrase.
Artist Erin M. Riley: This body of work uses images that depict intimate moments that are shared one on one and then online to many. I am interested in seeing images that represent women in different states of control and vulnerability. In this show I also included self portraits and still life pieces using personal objects.
Warholian’s Michael Cuffe: How did you first decide you wanted to become and artist? Your background? What formal or informal training have you received?
Artist Hilary Pecis: I don’t remember a time that I didn’t feel like an artist. My mom used to let us watch The Secret City with Commander Mark on PBS. He taught kids how to draw spaceships and cities with dimension. Later on I ended up in community college taking art classes which eventually led me toward art school. I have both my BFA and MFA from California College of the Arts in San Francisco.
Artist Erin M. Riley: I took art classes throughout high school and applied and went to an art college at Massachusetts college of art and design in boston MA and directly into graduate school at Tyler school of art in Philadelphia, pa. I have always been interested in being an artist but college and grad school helped to make it more of a reality.
Warholian’s Michael Cuffe: How has your process and subject matter evolved over time?
Artist Hilary Pecis: It has evolved significantly over the last few years. I had been making collages from pieces of magazine pages. I like the hands on cutting and pasting but there were several problems with that method of collage making. First off, the images available in magazines can be a bit limiting. There are really only so many images I could count on being in any given magazine. This resulted in many artworks that looked similar or being made with the same shapes and images. Secondly, the materials are not exactly archival. I used a few different mediums and binders to slow the deterioration process, but inevitably the pieces will have a short life span. Both of these issues would not necessarily be a problem, if that was what the work was about, but it wasn’t and therefore I decided to switch it up and make work that felt more contemporary,employing more archival materials. Using a digital word search turns up both expected and surprise images for my work. The surprises are what makes it the most fun.
Artist Erin M. Riley: I have always been a tapestry weaver but used to combine collage or mixed media into my tapestries or as a side project. My main focus now is handwoven wool tapestry and I am working constantly to improve my technique. My subject matter has changed gradually from using family photographs to found images online and now using found images and also using images I have taken or composed.
Warholian’s Michael Cuffe: Who/what are some of your major influences?
Artist Hilary Pecis: Rob Pruitt is one of my favorites. His work is easy to relate to as a viewer. It is clever and indicative of contemporary culture and it is aesthetically pleasing. There are a slew of new photographers that I think are amazing. Both Michelle Abelas and Sam Falls are two photographers who I admire. Their practices are exciting, employing fresh means to achieve the finished pieces.
Artist Erin M. Riley: I am completely inspired by day to day life and experiences. I am constantly looking at images on blogs, Facebook, google image and all over. Television, current events, ect. I always look to Helena Hernmarck, a tapestry weaver, as an example of what is really possible in tapestry weaving.
Warholian’s Michael Cuffe: What’s next for you? Any exciting projects or opportunities?
Artist Hilary Pecis: I have a solo show coming up at Halsey McKay Gallery, located in East Hampton which opens on June 21st. Other than that just a couple group shows for now.
Artist Erin M. Riley: I am currently figuring out what’s next. I spent the last seven months traveling and going to residencies so I need to find an apartment and a job first. Lots of art to make this summer and I hope to get to work on new tapestries in may.
- written and photographed by Michael Cuffe for Warholian
For more on the shows, visit Guerrero Gallery at: http://guerrerogallery.com/
Visit Erin M. Riley at her official site here: http://erinmriley.com/
Check out Hilary Pecis at her artist site: http://www.hilarypecis.com/