Chris Reilly is an artist whose works are about seeking balance while also acting as a visual diary of his life and work, especially as it intersects with his work in mental health.
Bart Gazzola sat down to talk with Chris recently in his studio in Niagara, to coincide with a a solo exhibition of his artworks currently on display in Thorold, ON, at the Post Office Art Gallery.
Chris Reilly (whose IG tag is the succinct series of hashtags of #Nurse | #Art | #Sleep) is an artist who works in painting and drawing, based out of St. Catharines, ON. Also a nurse who works in mental health, he has exhibited widely around Niagara, and more of his works can be seen here.
About his work, he offers the following:
All my paintings are conceptual self portraits, of a particular moment in time, my history and experiences.
My artworks are less informed by other artists (as I’m primarily self taught) but more defined by my day to day life and the individuals around me, and my interactions with them. In many ways, my pieces are shaped by circumstances and emotions (depression, isolation, despair) and the artwork itself is more process oriented: the piece is a visual result of my feelings expressed through the act of creating the work.
Materials and techniques I use are often non-traditional because a “formal” framework of “making” artwork is secondary. I experiment with different mediums, as whatever best helps me in creating balance in my life by finding balance on the canvas is what I employ. My lack of a “formal” art “education” is a positive thing, here, as I have fewer – if any –preconceived notions of art making.
There’s an element of self directed art therapy in my practice: this correlates to my work in health care, and in this way my paintings are how I reflect on the day and learn about myself. They’re my separation between past and future, and are a visual representation of all of my accomplishments and failures. I make the images for myself as a way to cope, but also as a visual diary, that’s immediate to my world and acts as visual “chapters” of a wider, biographical record.
My studio practice is very intense and the prolific nature of my production is another way in which I maintain an equilibrium in my life. The abstracted, often strongly monochromatic palette and the painterly, expressive marks are like footprints, indicating where I’ve ‘been’ as well as personal information that can be ‘decoded’ or appreciated for its aesthetic sensibility. Some works can be very minimal, whereas others have layers of marks, and many of these works interact with each other, formally as well as symbolically.
~ Posted by Bart Gazzola