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Talley Gallery Exhibit’s ‘Mish Mash’

Emily Rice | Staff Writer | 01/19/2011

Derrick Riley, from Lexington, Ken., will be featuring his artwork in the Talley Gallery in the Education Arts Building between now and February 16.

The exhibit, titled “Mish Mash,” is primarily imagery done via woodcut and woodcut collage. With its sketch-like look, each image represents everyday life, repetition and consumerism.

Riley’s artist statement reflects on his purpose behind his imagery.

“The reflection of life, both as subject and metaphor, affects how I perceive the world and how it works,” stated Riley. “Our culture is problematic, obsessive, repetitive and controlled: consequently my work reflects these characteristics.”

With his black and white imagery, as well as color and metallic, Riley’s works, such as “Kentucky Monster Mash 1-4” (2010), “As Seen on TV” (2010), “The King of Blings” (2008) and “The Gut Buster” (2008), are perfect representation of “human nature, dependencies and self-conceitedness…Popular culture is a major influence in my work,” said Riley.

With the use of time and relevance Riley’s art “serves as a deterrent from the problems that are being presented,” he said.

According to his website, www.drockpress.com, Riley currently runs and heads dRock Press and Walk In Closet Tees. He also is an adjunct professor at the University of Kentucky.

For Riley his art is therapeutic.

“Some people go to the psychologist, I just take my aggression out on a block of wood,” he said.

But ultimately Riley’s artwork has one question to ask: “Is our culture a reflection of ourselves, or are we a reflection of the culture presented to us?”

It is a question that may go forever unanswered, but through Riley’s art, the question is posed for discussion.