This article continues my series on the illusion of Depth in painting, with a focus on contemporary artist Janine Riley. Prior articles (more general) are Depth in painting, a short into; and The Road to Perspective (development of depth in my own abstracts), and articles on Lutz Baar, Chris Rohrbach, and H Drew.
Janine Riley – Graphic Ideas and Painterly Perspectives
Our short tour of Depth and Contemporary Painters continues with Janine Riley. Her approach to painting is an appealing fusion of Classic and Contemporary ideas, awareness of color, and strong graphic elements. Janine’s work is often highly detailed. Lines and carefully rendered patterns and perspective define the geometry space and depth of her foreground and midground.
Her use of line and perspective combined with graphic detail organize each painting’s composition, freeing her to make strong color statements within her pieces. The organization and detail in her paintings also allows Janine Riley to create a strong sense of depth and three dimensional geometry, even while breaking the typical “rules” of the depth illusion. For example in “Liberty’s Night” shown above, graphical lines, well defined sharp shapes and clear perspective create the illusion of a village meandering down a hillside towards the water. She then uses much softer water-effect painting techniques in the foreground for autumn foliage. The effect is lyrical and beautifully contrasts the built and the natural in her scene. “Softer” usually signals “farther away”, but what happens when a depth creating element is freed from that task? Janine Riley’s attention to perspective and detail allow her to use more fluid forms to expand the visual vocabulary of the painting. She does this in several ways in the work above, melded seamlessly to make a very interesting painting.
In some of her other works, buildings and built structures are far less prominent, limiting perspective as a tool for creating depth. In “Dawn has Spoken”, above, two similar trees create distance and scale as the background tree shrinks into the distance. The color patterns in the sky converge on the vanishing point defined by the objects in the foreground, creating a subtle and naturalistic perspective. Color and shadow are also used to define space and create volumes and zones.
Throughout Janine Riley’s landscapes and townscape paintings there is an interesting juxtapostion of ideas used to create the illusion of depth and ideas that evoke a flatter and more graphical quality. Combining these ideas creates an unusual dynamic in Janine Riley’s work, providing a moody lyricism and evoking the soul of each locale.
Next up: Chris Rohrbach’s Expressive Space