Michael RILEY

Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi peoples

Australia 1960 – 2004

Untitled, from the series cloud [cow] 2000, printed 2005 Description: Cow

Collection Title: Cloud series
Place made: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Materials & Technique: photographs, chromogenic pigment print Printed on Epson Stylus Pro 9600, by Sandy Barnard

Primary Insc: Ed: 1/5
Dimensions: 110.0 h x 155.0 w cm framed (overall) 131.2 h x 177 w x 6.5 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2005
Accession No: NGA 2005.294.7
Image rights: Reproduced courtesy of the Michael Riley Foundation and Viscopy
  • A Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi man from the western New South Wales town of Dubbo, Michael Riley’s career as a photomedia artist and filmmaker began in Sydney in the early 1980s with elegant black and white portraits. In the early 1990s, Riley’s films and still photographs became conceptual and poetic rather than documentary works. They drew on aspects of his personal history, particularly the Christian teachings he encountered in early childhood on the Tralbalgar Aboriginal Reserve in Dubbo. In these later projects Riley used digital montage to conjoin Indigenous and European symbols.

    The cloud series speaks to the history of Indigenous and European Australia. The title conveys associations of physical and spiritual lightness but also of the shadow Europeans shed over Aboriginal lives. The sequence begins with a cemetery angel, eyes seemingly averted from the mass deaths of Aboriginal people. This is followed by images of the wings of a native crow; a single feather with associations of Egyptian myth in which on judgement day one’s soul is weighed against a feather; the covers of a black Bible being tossed away or landing like an alien; a native locust in crucifix formation, recalling the Biblical plagues; a solid black cow standing for the displacement of Aboriginal lands by pastoralists (above); and a boomerang, symbolic of both flight and return/resurrection.

    Angry protest was not Riley’s style—the final montage in the series of the angel’s wing sinking into the bottom of the picture presents a suspended image of hope or despair, depending on the viewer’s perspective.

    Gael Newton

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
    From: Franchesca Cubillo and Wally Caruana (eds) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art: collection highlights National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2010

  • 迈克尔·莱利 (Michael RILEY)
    《无题,云系列[奶牛]》(Untitled, from the series cloud [cow])
    显色颜料印刷;Epson Stylus Pro 9600印纸
    110.0(高) x 155(宽) 厘米
    框裱(整体) 131.2 (高) x 177(宽) x 6.5(深) 厘米
    收录号:NGA 2005.294.7

    迈克尔·莱利是维拉杜里/卡米勒罗伊(Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi)人,来自新南威尔士州西部的达博(Dubbo)镇,1980年代初,在悉尼开始媒体摄影艺术家和电影制作人的职业生涯,拍摄优雅的黑白照片。1990年代初,迈克尔的电影当然还有照片不再是纪实作品,变得概念化,充满诗情画意。他的作品借鉴了其个人历史的要素,尤其是早年儿时在达博特罗波尔加土著人保留地(Tralbalgar Aboriginal Reserve)接受的基督教教义。更后来的项目中,莱利使用数字蒙太奇来接合土著与欧洲象征符号。



    Gael Newton

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra