Category Archives: Seana Reilly

Docking on the Orphic Shore: Interview with Artist Seana Reilly

Seana Reilly

(from left to right) ProfferedStone, ChthonicCourse, FrozenCadence, 2016, Seana Reilly

Seana Reilly’s latest show at whitespace is a cross between a library and a church, temple, or cathedral. With gothic and other architectural influences, Eastern and Western religious motifs and a quieting quality, Docking on the Orphic Shore is reverential. For this blogpost, we decided to interview Seana to get a better understanding of the materials, her process and the creation of the show in whitespace.

Hilleary: Your show feels absolutely sacred and spiritual. Docking on the Orphic Shore is a representation of that place we all seem to be trying to get to, whether it is heaven in Judeo-Christian religions, or Nirvana in Buddhism, the Orphic Shore seems to be that place as well.

Seana: It’s about trying to lose your edges and connect with something larger than yourself. It expands outward beyond the physical limits of your body. Sometimes religions will help people do that. Sometimes science with its endlessly evolving frontiers can help people get there. Poetry can as well. There are so many different paths – it’s whichever suits you as an individual. One expression for me of this dissolution of the self is in the piece titled OrphicSonnet. It’s a transcribed Rilke poem – as I moved down the surface losing myself in the writing, three lines behind me the words were starting to migrate and change, losing themselves. Once the piece was done I found it kind of interesting that the image was very recognizable as text-based, but at the same time completely unreadable, illegible. I don’t think you can put this larger experience into words, so it’s rather fitting.

H: You and I have spoken about the materials before, but how would you describe working with them and your process?

S: My process is more participatory practice than ritual. It’s a communion of sorts. I’m always trying to balance control and chaos. When working with the graphite there are a few things I can control and make decisions about, such as the viscosity, the substrate, or the scale. That’s where my architectural background asserts itself… the defined space, the pristine edge, the square format. But once those decisions are made and the material is released into that framework, I surrender control. The graphite can be prodded a bit – in the service of broad aesthetic decisions – but it has certain inherent qualities that produce particular kinds of affects or patterns. This is what fascinates me… how the material mimics planetary-scale processes in nature. Some of the works read as landscapes, but any representational aspects of the work are accidental and unbidden. I neither erase nor encourage these. More than anything I’m intrigued by them.

H: What about the gray walls in that room? How did you decide to create that as part of the exhibition?

S: The two rooms are different. Works in both spaces are graphite, but graphite in two different forms and applied in two different ways. I kept all the tactile hands-on paste graphite in the first room because I wanted a grounded place to enter into first. It’s also a very bright white room and sets up a contrast with the other darker space with the liquid graphite pieces. It’s markedly different when you step up and across that threshold into the room with the books. In thinking about this room I kept coming back to both a sense of drama and stillness. I spent some time at the Carlos Museum. They do it well – I think it’s all in the value shifts in color & lighting. I chose the mid-value grey walls to tone down the space energetically, and in a practical sense it helps to set off the white portions of the works which get lost on white walls.

H: There is a rhythm to the whole space something that ties it together as a whole, could you speak on to that?

S: Obviously, there’s consistency of palette and material. That helps. I also like working in series, so there’s a rhythm built into that. There’s a consistency of presentation as well. The series of vertical paintings between the books, for example, sets up a repeating rhythm that leans toward religious architecture and also toward museum presentations of ancient tablets and scrolls. Then you intersperse the books, also done in series… Books of this size are usually reserved for deep records of knowledge or spiritual guidance, so they lend a certain weightiness to the room, both visually and atmospherically. The intent and presentation is consistent. At least that’s what I was shooting for. One other thing that may help is the continuity of visual language throughout the show. Every piece in the show is an expression of the way the earth was formed – not in some abstract way, but a physical manifestation of the laws of gravity and fluid motion. The books are not full of alphanumeric symbols or pictorial allegories pointing to things outside of themselves. They are full of nature itself, as are the paintings.

whitespace Artists Meg Aubrey, Matt Haffner and Seana Reilly “E-merge” at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport

“To emerge is to come into existence, to become evident, to come into sight or view.”

Meg Aubrey, "Lost," oil on canvas

Whitespace artists Meg Aubrey, Matt Haffner and Seana Reilly are currently on view in the T-gate Exhibition Gallery at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson Airport as part of E-Merge: Contemporary Atlanta Artists at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. Curated by Hope Cohn, this exhibition contains over forty works by Atlanta artists in a variety Continue reading

A Look Inside: Seana Reilly and Marcia Vaitsman Awarded Idea Capital’s Travel Grant for “Heisenberg Boulevard”

We are pleased to announce that whitespace artists, Seana Reilly and Marcia Vaitsman have been awarded a $2000 Idea Capital Travel Grant for their joint video installation project “Heisenberg Boulevard.”  Reilly and Vaitsman will be traveling out west to complete the project, a large-scale installation showing geographically and chemically active landscapes where evidence of chemo-physical exchanges is visible.  These unromanticized views of nature (volcanoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, geysers, tornadoes, planets, stars and moons) will be presented as sources of energy Continue reading

Casey Lynch interviews Seana Reilly for Drain Magazine

Seana Reilly, AtramentalMain, 2012, graphite on dibond, 72 x 48 inches

The Science of Letting Go

In the Black issue of Drain magazine, Casey Lynch interviews Seana Reilly to explore the process and inspiration for her sublime, introspective graphite “pourings.”  Reilly explains in detail her interest in Vipassana meditation, geology, and philosophy, offering readers a glimpse into her artistic journey, while Lynch highlights Reilly’s awareness Continue reading

whitespace presents "Perpetual Assembly"

Perpetual Assembly
works by

Seana Reilly
Ann Stewart
Students from the Auburn University architectural program

August 5 – September 3, 2011

Opening Reception:  Friday, August 5th  | 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
 

Whitepsace is pleased to present Perpetual Assembly, which includes exhibitions in both the whitespace main gallery and whitespec.  The two exhibitions that each take a focused, process-oriented approach to exploring perception.  Architectonic arrangements of line are found throughout the show and ask the viewer to consider his or her relationship to the physical world.

Whitespace gallery houses works by Ann Stewart and Seana Reilly. These two artists are questioning what we know and how we know we know it. The artists share a fascination with cognitive systems, and they explore the nature of existence and knowledge through the medium of graphite.

Seana Reilly, “ResolvingKazimir,” graphite on dibond, 48 x 48 inches    
Ann Stewart, Detail of “Perpetual Assembly II,” graphite on paper, 60 x 66 inches
Whitespec shows a series of stop-motion short films created by freshman architecture students from Auburn University’s Foundation Studio. The films fall into one of two categories: the first deals with movement of the human body through space over time, and the second uses popular music to explore visual communication through text and letter forms.  Both are fascinating studies of architecture as an accumulation of small pieces into a greater whole, as well as a glimpse into how architects can document and represent their ideas via film. 
Auburn University Architectural Students, still from “Beautiful Day” stop motion film