Weaving Women’s Issues with Erin M. Riley

I am in love with Erin M Riley. This woman is a forced to be reckoned with and I cannot wait to see what direction her artwork moves. Tapestry is a textile art that most would agree is the medium for displaying family history, biblical tales, and detailed botanical works. Porn is decidedly absent from the list of usual tapestry subjects. Erin, a Brooklyn-based artist, weaves found images, images of herself, and even screen shots of pornography. Through her work, Erin tackles women’s issues, from sexts and drunken nights to the stark and familiar reality of getting ready for that 3AM liaison.

I admire Erin’s choice to openly display and normalize women’s sexuality. The feminist take back of porn watching, masturbation, and actively wanting sex is rampant throughout her work and I think it’s brilliant. In her Daddy Issue’s series, she also brings to life the vulnerability of being a woman. Women passed-out drunk, sick in the bathroom, bodies splayed across the floor. These tapestries visualize the darker side of women’s issues. So often we talk about violence towards women but displaying that violence is so often avoided. Being uncomfortable is important and Erin’s work does not care if you’re uncomfortable.

As for her found pictures of roads, car wrecks, and highway memorials, there is again an uncomfortable sense brought about by not knowing the story. Tire marks on an empty road could be stopping for a deer or skidding into a deadly accident. The crushed metal of a car but no sign of a person leaves you wondering what happened, where did this story start and how does it end. Looking through Erin’s work, the only emotion in the pit of me is sonder.


You can find more of Erin’s work on her website and Instagram.

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