I grew up in Colorado where hiking, backpacking, skiing and simple walking in the wilderness of the Rockies enabled me to develop a deep appreciation of the natural world. This appreciation is the ultimate foundation of my artwork. I have a BA from Carleton College and an MFA from Pratt Institute. I currently work in Ridgewood, Queens. In addition to my work as an artist, I am a dedicated elementary school art teacher and teach in the New York City Public Schools.
My solo exhibitions include Brooklyn College; Cheryl McGinnis Gallery; and St. Thomas Aquinas College. Group exhibitions include Site Mapping, Herter Gallery, University of Massachusetts; Creative Cartographies, Brooklyn Arts Council; Beyond Boundaries, Flinn Gallery; and Go to where the Map Takes You: The Intersection Between Cartography and Creativity, Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education. My installation Randomland was shown Fall 2012 at the Flatiron, New York and written about in ArtsObserver, Inspir3d, and Sculpture.org. My installation Ex Libris Mundi was exhibited at Art Wall on Third, New York Public Library. Recent publications with my work include Making Art from Maps, by Jill K. Berry and You Are Here NYC, Mapping the Soul of the City by Katharine Harmon. My work is represented in numerous collections, including Agnes Gund, President Emeritus Museum of Modern Art, New York.
My map pieces developed out of my earlier work exploring the evolving structures and patterns of dynamic systems, from the molecular to the cosmic. Cities, countries, their creation and destruction, their changeable boundaries, the manipulation of our environment, are to me a kind of dynamic art created by the subconscious and conscious will of whole populations of people. Maps are their reflection. I attempt to reveal the pattern of these changes and manipulations, reinterpreting maps to create the unexpected connections that emphasize these relationships.
I am ultimately fascinated by the revelatory power of visual patterns — how they can reveal order in chaos and unite what may at first seem so different. I see this power not only within maps, but in trees and how their gesture is like a river with tributaries, or within the linear structure of a hand in motion, creating random lines. A pattern reveals a form to that motion, a tracing like a map.
Art for Justice: Select Women Artists from the Agnes Fund Collection and Select Artists Associated with the Art for Justice Fund, Modern West Fine Art in association with Susan Swartz Studios, Salt Lake City, UT.
Curated by Nicole Gallo.Art in a Time of Social Distancing, online exhibition presented by LIC-A, New York, NY.
Install/Deinstall, 601Artspace, New York, NY.
Curated by Gabriela Vainsencher.
Go Where the Map Takes You: The Intersection of Cartography and Creativity, The Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education, Portland, ME.
Curated by Heather Magaw.
Beyond Boundaries: An Exploration of Maps and Mapping, Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT.
Fluid, Newhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island, New York.
Ex Libris Mundi, Solo Installation, Art Wall on Third, New York Public Library, New York, New York.
Curated by Arezoo Moseni.
Hindsight/Foresight, Cheryl McGinnis Gallery, New York, New York.
Primogenesis, Solo Show, Cheryl McGinnis Gallery, New York, New York.
Randomland, Solo Installation, Prow at the Flatiron.Curated by Cheryl McGinnis.
Bloomtime, Space Realty Group Gallery, Long Island City, New York.
“On Your Mark”, New York, NY, Cheryl McGinnis Gallery.
ArtHamptons International Fine Arts Fair, Bridgehampton, NY, Cheryl McGinnis Gallery.
Cartographic Cells, Solo Show, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY.
75 Mile Radius, Solo Show, Cheryl McGinnis Gallery, New York, NY.
Sight Mapping, Herter Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Curated by David Gibson and Trevor Richardson.
Project Globe, Art Auction for Future Generations sponsored by Travel and Leisure magazine.Creative Cartographies, Brooklyn Arts Council, Brooklyn, New York, NY.Works of Art on Paper, Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences, Loveladies, NJ.
Black + White = Grey Matter, Cheryl McGinnis Gallery, New York, NY.
Microspace, Cheryl McGinnis Gallery, New York, NY.
Cambridge Art Association National Prize Show, University Place Gallery, Cambridge, MA.
Group Show, Jonathan Shorr Gallery, NY, NY.Group Show, Flushing Town Hall, Flushing, NY.
Curated by Cheryl McGinnis.
2004Cellular Universe, Solo Show: Azarian McCullough Art Gallery,
St. Thomas Aquinas College, Sparkhill, NY.
13th National Juried Show, Art Center of Northern New Jersey, New Milford, NJ.
Juror: Susan Cross, Guggenheim Museum.
International Juried Show, New Jersey Center for Visual Arts, Summit, NJ.
Juror: Charlotta Kotik, Brooklyn Museum of Art.
Works on Paper, Solo Show: Bas Bleu Gallery, Fort Collins, CO.
The Drawing National, Montgomery College, Rockville, MD.
Plain Arts III, Pittsburgh State University, Pittsburgh, KS.
Twenty Third Annual Fine Arts Competition, Mills Pond House Gallery, St. James, NY.
Juror: Tracey Bashkoff, Curator, Guggenheim Museum.
2nd Annual Juried Competition, No BIAS Gallery, North Bennington, VT.
Juror: Elizabeth Levine, Museum of Modern Art.
Rivers, Walter F. Meade Gallery, Roxbury Arts Center, Roxbury, NY.
Thunder and Lightning, Fulton Hall Gallery, Salisbury State University, Salisbury, MD.
Valdosta National: Works on Paper, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA.
Women’s Works 10th Annual Exhibition, Old Courthouse Arts Center, Woodstock, IL.
Carving the Forces of Change: Celebrating Women in the Arts, Artemisia Gallery, Chicago, IL.
Juror: Faith Ringgold.
Ms. Agnes Gund, New York, NY.
Cummins, Indianapolis, IN.
Fortune Society, New York, NY.
Hannah McBeth, Art for Justice Challenges Mass Incarceration with Creativity at Modern West, 15 bytes, January 2020
Kristin Hoganson and Jay Sexton, Crossing Empires, (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2019), Cover Image.
Katherine Harmon, “You Are Here/NYC: Mapping the Soul of the City”, Princeton Architectural Press, November 2016. Available from Amazon.
Jill K.Berry, “Making Art from Maps: Inspiration, Techniques, and an International Gallery of Artists”, Rockport Publishers, June 2016. Available from Amazon.
Sara Miller, “Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me a Map”, Trunk Magazine, pp.24-25, Fall/Winter 2012
Jan Castro, “In the Studio”, sculpture.org, July 2012.
“Rebecca Riley’s Randomland at the Prow Art Space”, Inspir3d, July 2012.
“Inspired by Maps, Rebecca Riley Interprets the World”, Arts.Observer, July 2012.
Trevor Richardson, “Sight Mapping”, Catalog, Herter Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, 2009.
“Project Globe, 2008”, Travel and Leisure Magazine, October 2008, pp 198-201.
“Emergence: Complexity and Organization”, Journal of the Complexity Society, Cover Image, March, 2007.
Amy Chase Gulden, “Introducing Rebecca Riley”, www.apartmenttherapy.com, November 2005.
Tina Seligman, “Cheryl McGinnis Fine Art, A Contemporary Salon”, Art of the Times, October, 2005, p.28.
“Catch Art at Its Tribeca Source”, www.lowermanhattan.info, April 2005.
Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, Berkeley, CA, Image in Flier for “Geometric Evolution Equations”, May, 2005
Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, Saratoga, WY, 2019.
Panels, Lectures, Discussions
Artist Dialog, Ex Libris Mundi, with Stephanie Hightower, Mid Manhattan Public Library, New York, NY, February, 2013.
Artist Talk, the Cooper Union, New York, NY, August, 2012.
Artists Space, New York, NY.
Brooklyn Arts Council, Brooklyn, NY.
MFA, Painting, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY., 1988
University of Georgia Summer Art Program, Cortona, Italy, 1982
BA Art, Carleton College, Northfield, MN., 1982
Fellowship Award, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY.
Hemingway Award for Outstanding Art Major, Carleton College, Northfield, MN.