Thirty Six Views
All the photos in this series are of the Manhattan skyline taken over the course of one year from various points along the waterfront in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Each features the same iconic view of the Empire State Building but despite the similarity of subject matter differences in position, lighting, season and weather create a diverse set of images. The project is inspired by the Japanese artist Hokusai and his famous folio of woodblock prints ‘Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji’ which includes the singularly work ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’.
Hokusai’s suite of prints depict various episodes in Japanese life and the society of his era. They embody a deep respect for and observance of nature which it is evident in his incorporation of weather from it's seasonal variations to severe weather events. In each the brooding presence of Japan's most famous and sacred volcano Mount Fuji is omnipresent in the skyline and it is the thematic link for the whole suite. The Empire State building is the brooding iconic structure omnipresent in the New York skyline and I pay affectionate homage to both. What is revealed in this series are the small details of New York East River life played out against the back drop of the world famous metropolis, itself dwarfed by the magnificent forces of nature.
Philip Riley attended the Central St.Martins School of Art in London to study Fine Art Painting and Printmaking in the mid-eighties. He participated in the London’s vibrant art scene until he came to New York in the mid-nineties. While in London he exhibited in several important survey shows such as ‘Wonderful Life’ at the Lisson Gallery London, ‘The Institute of Cultural Anxiety’ at the ICA London and ‘Instructions’ at Gio Marconi in Milan, amongst others.
His work has always been about the scientific explanation of life weighed against the spiritual and emotional experience of living. In recent years his concern for the fragility of this planet and our natural systems in the face of climate instability has caused him to focus his interest upon nature. It’s beauty, depth, complexity and resilience even in the urban setting.
Philip currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Since 2010 he has owned and run a fine art digital printing company where he makes photographs, prints and editions for art galleries, museums and the wider artistic community.