// BIO




I was born in 1952 in the Third Ward of Houston, Texas and my mother went back to Texas Southern University while I was in day care to complete her Fine Art degree. My first memories were of her art supplies. I remember the smell of oil paints, turpentine and clay vividly. She gave me a bounty of coloring books and drawing pads with the largest box of crayons she could find. Best of all, I was read to constantly from our vast library and I was allowed to draw on a wall in my bedroom that she would paint over every few months. She could not find the sofa she wanted so she designed one and chose the fabric herself to go with our totally original and eclectic interior décor. Despite this idyllic start, I was encouraged by my father to think of art and design as hobbies so when I graduated from Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri in 1973 I had double majored in fashion and fine art. I moved to San Francisco in 1977 and worked as an executive at a large luxury retailer, as an account executive for an international advertising agency and finally as an advertising executive for a large womens apparel company before founding Right Angle Designs in 1986. I created one-of-a-kind, custom and licensed furniture and lighting designs for the next 13 years along with large-scale public art murals and sculptures.

In 1999 I moved to New York where I began concentrating on my mirrors, works on paper and sculptures. The sculptures delve into issues of culture and seeming disparities between them. They look at how history, geography, social structures, habits and impressions affect our worldview and how we look at art, religion, politics and each other. For instance, I created a series of five tabletop size wooden sculptures in editions of five that, for me, epitomize the spirit of the novels and essays of James Baldwin. I began, in the spirit of Sol LeWitt and inspired by the artists of the Patterns and Decorations Movement, to create site-specific wall drawings and wallpapers. The first wallpaper was created on a photographers seamless for a room size installation I created for the Newark Museum in its 2000 Invitational Group Exhibit.

In addition to exhibiting in over 25 museums and 50 galleries, I have had the great honor to have my work acquired by some of the top Curators in America for the permanent collections of the Smithsonians Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in Manhattan, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Oakland Museum and the Mint Museum of Architecture and Design in Charlotte, NC. I have been published in national and local magazines and scholarly books and am one of the last NEA Individual Artist Grant recipients. My public art was commissioned by the cities of New York, Atlanta, Sacramento and San Francisco. I love to talk about art, design and my work so I have been a keynote speaker, lectured at museums, universities, design schools, arts organizations, given workshops and participated on panels, seminars and symposia throughout the United States including at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

I give back in a small way by having served on several non-profit boards including the executive boards of The American Craft Council and Capp Street Project, as chair of the Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art (SECA) auxiliary of San Francisco MOMA and as chair of the Membership Committee of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. Since moving to New York and New Jersey I have shown at Leo Kaplan Modern, Bard Graduate College, John Elder Gallery, Peg Alston Fine Arts, and at the Newark Museum. I have taught at Haystack Mountain School of Craft, Penland School of Craft, Arrowmont School of Arts and Craft and the New York School of Interior Design.



// To download Cheryl Riley's resume, click HERE.



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SF Focus
Metropolitan Home
NY Times
SF Cover 1
SF Cover 2
The City
Designer's West
House Beautiful
Black Elegance
American Vision
Elle Decor