Ceremonial Regalia (fine are canvas) by Kenneth Riley
“The original idea for this work was to show both sides of a costume along with a gun-stock war club,” says artist Ken Riley. “When I started composing the two figures with buffalo robes flung over their shoulders, however, I realized that a new form was created. This third entity came into focus when I placed the buffalo skull at the top. It also added the mystical connotation I had hoped to achieve in this work.”
Kenneth Riley is dedicated not only to authenticity, ethnography and history, but also to allegory and spirituality. His work has been called classical, sophisticated, gentle and sensitive. Descended from Irish immigrants on his father’s side and Dutch farmers on his mother’s, he was born in Waverly, a small town by the bend of a river in north- central Missouri. Riley was a self-taught drummer, and gained some success touring with Eddie Lain and His Orchestra. But art turned out to be his true career and he pursued it to the Kansas City Art Institute, where he studied drawing with Thomas Hart Benton for a year, developing his skill in interlocking shapes and rhythmic patterns. He was also influenced by teacher Harvey Dunn, who studied with Howard Pyle. World War II found Coast Guard Specialist Second Class Kenneth Riley on duty as one of the conflict’s most honored combat artists. Following the war, Riley found fame as an illustrator, starting with The Saturday Evening Post and later working with Life and National Geographic. After he was chosen to paint Teton and Yellowstone National Parks as part of the Society of Illustrators’ Artists in the Parks program and was invited to teach at Brigham Young University in Utah, Riley decided to move West to pursue a fine art career.
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