Duke Riley received his BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and his MFA from Pratt Institute. Riley is fascinated by maritime history and events around urban waterways. His signature style interweaves historical and contemporary events with elements of fiction and myth to create allegorical histories. His re-imagined narratives comment on a range of issues from the cultural impact of over development and environmental destruction of waterfront communities to contradictions within political ideologies and the role of the artist in society.
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My work addresses the tension between individual and collective behavior, independent spaces within all-encompassing societies, and the conflict with institutional power. I examine transgression zones and their inhabitants through drawing, printmaking, mosaic, sculpture, performative interventions, infiltrations, and video structured as complex multimedia installations.
I combine populist myths and historical obscurities with contemporary social and environmental dilemmas, connecting past and present, drawing attention to unsolved issues. Throughout my projects I profile the space where water meets the land, traditionally marking the periphery of urban society, what lies beyond rigid moral constructs, a sense of danger and possibility.