Biography: Anna Riley
Anna Riley’s work focuses on exploring the historic narrative of decolorization, and the emotional effects of material in our daily lives. Her research has taken her from coasts to quarries, harvesting raw ingredients from the earth to manufacture a series of site-influenced glass recipes. She has become deeply acquainted with the origin and production of glass, and interested in the “historical ambition for decolorization,” she says.
“Decolorization is a process in which precisely chosen metal oxides can be added to a formula to counteract the original color, creating a mimesis of rock crystal,” she explains. “What are we really looking at when we look at clear glass? Bits of opacity turned molten? Earth, metal, lime, salts, sand? How has this clarity extended into notions of purity, absence, blank space?”
During her residency at The Studio in April and May 2017, Riley will experiment with a variety of methods to transform brown bottle glass into clear glass. “The brown, or ‘amber,’ formula is intended to minimize internalized light to avoid degradation of liquid, making this challenge especially interesting,” Riley says. “By working toward converting it into clear material, the glass’ utility will be removed. What was once a glass engineered for a specific purpose is re-purposed in service of ‘clarity.’”
In 2014, Riley received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in glass from Rhode Island School of Design and, in 2013, completed a semester abroad at the Australian National University where she focused on glass research. She recently completed a residency at the Creative Glass Center of American Fellowship in New Jersey, and another at the Wave Pool Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio.