Through the retrospective exhibit at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum, home of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, one can see how Patrick Riley's art has grown more whimsical as he's matured. The contemplation that is evident in his early Self Portrait, and the gravitas of his first mask, Medicine Man, give way to fanciful beasts and kaleidoscopic color in his later work. Much like Patrick, this playful art, such as Universe Man, take a jab at the would-be seriousness of life, following it up with a smile and mischievous wink. Inspired primarily by Patrick’s cultural experiences, the masks and totems explore positive and negative space through skillful manipulation of leather, splashes of colorful beads and paint, and the inclusion of textures and found objects. Many of masks are teaching tools, and Patrick regularly takes them to schools and workshops, allowing them to be worn by his students. This use has created a natural patina and a wearing on many of the works that adds another layer of intrigue.
Patrick Riley has a long and distinguished history as an artist and also as an art educator. Numerous artist and art teachers across the state credit him with inspiring their careers and impacting their lives. Many of his students, with children and even grandchildren in tow, have visited his exhibit as something of a pilgrimage, reminiscing and giving credit where it is due. Some have even brought their masks with them, one such mask was created by Patrick forty years ago!
Though retired from public school, Patrick continues to share his love of art with children across the state as a teaching artist. A featured art instructor during the Oklahoma Hall of Fame's Free Family Fun programming, Patrick is leading the art activity for Summer Thursdays in August; you can make art with him during Cowboy Day on August 22 or Back to School Day on August 29.
The last day for Patrick’s exhibit is August 29. Don’t miss it!