Riley Kemerling displays completed work in her studio at North Mountain

Experimenting with watercolor, working on meat

Riley Kemerling (Mansfield, OH) came to North Mountain to paint. She drove from her hometown of Mansfield through the Ohio River Valley. Stopping at road-side attractions, locally-owned businesses, and ruins of past farm life, she collected photographs and stories as source material for her residency. In her three weeks on site she found more stories to tell. She observed that her paint palette quickly became dominated by a wide spectrum of green. Her paintings progressively took on the forced perspective looking up, or looking down – the angles of observation which reflect mountain life. Among dense foliage, glimpses of American consumer culture peep from behind the green coverage. Her work evokes a history of American painting traditions. Carefully entwining culture with landscape, her scenes bring to mind Edward Hopper’s quietude, Norman Rockwell’s Americana, and Ed Ruscha’s deadpan. One small painting depicts the iconic tail end of a Ford Explorer hanging above a lush cliffside, a blue tarp foregrounding the familiar and banal rear window. In a larger painting in progress, Riley depicts a modern coal mining operation. In large gestural brush strokes, she creates tailings and banded stripes of road ways. For more of Riley Kemerling’s work, see rileykemerlingstudio.com.