In his last two prolific decades as a photographer, Michael Riley appeared to dance from genre to genre as he expressed his concerns as an indigenous artist.

Initially drawn to the camera for its capacity to capture realism, Riley soon expanded to produce simple, intense studio portraiture, symbolic skyscapes and documentary filmmaking.

It was as if the young man from Dubbo tailored each aspect of the medium to his purpose at the time, reinventing his identity as an indigenous Australian artist as he went. Riley died of renal failure in 2004, just as he was beginning to receive international recognition for his photography. He was 44.

Curator Brenda Croft’s capacious retrospective Michael Riley: sights unseen at the National Gallery neatly separates the layers of Riley’s output as photographer and filmmaker. Large colour photographs display the most familiar face of Riley’s output – his symbolic Cloud series.


Artist: michael riley

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Gallery: National Gallery of Victoria ,