A published, award-winning short story writer and novelist, Troy Riser graduated from writing to painting because the integration of color, line, and form offer—in his view—a more powerful, more immediate means of expression, going beyond words, achieving a direct transmission of aesthetic and emotional experience. Riser paints in series, with each painting of the series thematically linked. Since he is primarily a figurative artist, the focus of the current series is an exploration of the female nude, invoking one of the oldest of artistic traditions. He plans each work carefully. While the finalized painting might be accomplished within a single sitting, Riser spends days, sometimes weeks working out the composition beforehand, using classically grounded geometric constructs based on the golden mean and its subdivisions. The painting Soli Deo Gloria, for example, employs a Golden Section spiral to mark the focal point and guide the eye.
The forms begin as detailed Contè crayon life drawings rendered from studio models, which are then simplified almost to the point of non-representational abstraction, and then integrated into the overall composition. The color palette is carefully chosen, often inspired by a specific painter or painting. For example, the orange-yellow-white heat effect achieved in Riser’s Sun Goddess is an homage to Mark Rothko’s painting, Saffron; the particular tints and graduated shades of red and pink in Riser’s Woman in Red & Violet have been borrowed, more or less, from an Apostle’s robes in an El Greco painting.
With much study and practice, Riser has learned the obvious, even childlike truth: Art, when it takes place, is not the framed object hanging on the gallery wall or standing motionless in the round; rather, art takes place in the associations and emotions evoked or provoked in the audience experiencing the work. Art is experience.