Located at the intersections of glass, paper, chemistry, and geology, Anna Riley’s art practice centralizes and isolates moments of material transformation. By way of photography and sculpture, the artist captures the power and complexity of transforming geologic materials through an intense and intimate focus on process-based methods of experimentation. For Riley, exposing the chemical transformation of a material can reveal much about that material’s history and potential.
For her MAD Process Lab exhibition, Riley follows the transformation of sand, limestone, oyster shells, and recycled beer bottles as part of her ongoing examination of two pervasive and anthropocentric substances: glass and cement. Often taking the form of a page or manuscript, her finished artworks evoke the tension between tacit and recorded knowledge, imperfect categories between which material phenomena often fall. As part of her project, Riley attempts to document and capture in form the moment of material transformation by featuring kilns and crucibles—vessels that melt, burn, bake, or otherwise transform materials by subjecting them to high temperatures.
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