Christian Rieben

European-Transportation_resized1 Primavera_resized Catch-and-Release_resized dejeuner grendel

Work1 Title: European Transportation Year: 2015 Materials: Oil on canvas Dimensions: H 60 W 72 Work2 Title: Primavera Year: 2015 Materials: Oil on canvas Dimensions: H 60 W 66 D Work3 Title: Catch and Release Year: 2015 Materials: Oil on canvas Dimensions: H 78 W 60 D Work4 Title: The Last Dejeuner Year: 2014 Materials: Oil on canvas Dimensions: H 48 W 60 D Work5 Title: Grendel Rises Year: 2014 Materials: Oil on canvas Dimensions: H 48 W 60 D


I make greedy attention-seeking paintings. They want it all. They want to be paintings and objects; they want to be abstract and representational. There is a movement afoot (which I’ll address in a moment) to redefine painting, to cleave work which is process-oriented from work which depicts images. My work wants to do both. I have grown increasingly interested in the process of painting, how a painting is an object that records its own construction. How the process of the construction – the movement of the artist’s body, the artist’s decisions, both good and bad, the serendipitous phenomena, all contribute to a work’s ability to generate empathy in the viewer. And in a world where social interaction grows evermore detached, the chance to connect with another during their creative process can be a powerful and intimate experience.

But we can achieve empathy as well through what is depicted, and I am a sucker for a good story. Mysterious characters, evocative locations, dramatic actions, they inspire my imagination and I connect with the image. However, I want the narrative in my paintings to be in a state of action – “being” as a process and not a resolved state. Events happen, characters perform, but there is not a static definition of what is happening or who is performing. All that we know is that something happens. We cannot define or categorize it. It defies us. These painted environments are landscapes of the psyche as much as they are physical places. They hold secrets, but they are venues for activity. They obfuscate but they illuminate. They are windows into another painted world, but pure illusionism is thwarted by the process of creation: gestural strokes, paint drips, and the evident weave of the canvas belie any effects from naturalistic light depiction. The viewer is reminded of the painting’s very real surface. In the end I want my painting to serve as both a “window” and an object which records its own making.


MFA,     School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois            2006

BA,     University of California, Santa Cruz, California                1990

Post-Baccalaureate Certificates

School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois                2004

University of California, Santa Cruz, California                    1991

Non-degree Course Work

Central Saint Martins, London, England                        2000

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin                    1991

Solo Exhibitions

2015    Ectoplasm from the Underworld, The Bike Room, Chicago, Illinois
Ryan Richey: Ghostbuster, The Newhart Promenade, Loyola University,     Chicago, Illinois (curator)

2012    Christian Rieben: The Failure of Rational Thought, The Bike Room,     Chicago, Illinois

2011    Christian Rieben: Meat for the Siren, Gallery UNO, Chicago, Illinois

2009    Christian Rieben: Recent Work, Gallery 73, Belgrade, Serbia
Christian Rieben: Phallusy, Stumptown Gallery, Alma,         Wisconsin
Christian Rieben: Friend of Dorothy, Gallery UNO, Chicago, Illinois

2007    Christian Rieben: How To Make a Painting, Gallery UNO,
Chicago, Illinois

Group Exhibitions

2015    Prism Walls: Sexual Identity and the Expression of Desire, The Newhart     Promenade, Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois (curator)

2014    Surrealism and War, National Veterans Art Museum, Chicago, Illinois
Art of it All, Featured Artist, Shy Rabbit, Online Exhibition
Review, Reflect, The Newhart Promenade, Loyola University, Chicago,     Illinois

2013    More than Naked, Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois (curator)

2012    Ordinacija #3, Inex Film, Belgrade, Serbia
Midway Art Fair, Lloyd Dobler Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
Faculty Biennale, Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois

2011    Studio Art Faculty Exhibit, Gahlberg Gallery, College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, Illinois

2010    Faculty Biennale: Outside the Classroom, Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois

2008    Berliner Liste, Cumberland Haus, Berlin, Germany
Make Me an Offer, Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago, Illinois
Summer Show, Castello di Santa Sever

Place: Chicago, IL