Born in 1956 in Wales, James Reilly has been a professor at the École since 2006. He studied at the Gloucester College of Art & Design, Cheltenham, UK, and at the Belfast College of Art, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK. He was a fellow at FAWC, USA, the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, and the Tate Gallery, Liverpool. Rielly has a strong connection to the French art world: his first oneman show in a museum was in 1997 at the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Nantes.

“Rielly has been painting family portraits for the past ten years now. The physical violence of those first paintings based on forensic science has been replaced by a more muted violence, which, though less spectacular, is ruthlessly effective. The ambiguity of the subjects is here accompanied by psychological violence, emphasized by the artist’s painting technique. The figures pose in front of a monochrome background, the scene bathed in a gentle atmosphere of mainly pale tones and pastels. They look like the sort of pictures you might hang in a child’s bedroom. But the paintings are traps, like sweets offered by a stranger lurking at the school gates. We would so much like to taste that sweetness, but common sense tells us we should run away. Attraction or repulsion? The artist toys with our ability to decode and leaves us trapped in a whirlwind of contradictory interpretations of his making.”

His use of humor is also part of a pictorial and cultural tradition in which satire and the grotesque may act as a pressure-valve for social tensions.Born in 1956 in Wales, James Reilly has been a professor at the École since 2006. He studied at the Gloucester College of Art & Design, Cheltenham, UK, and at the Belfast College of Art, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK. He was a fellow at FAWC, USA, the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, and the Tate Gallery, Liverpool. Rielly has a strong connection to the French art world: his first oneman show in a museum was in 1997 at the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Nantes.