Riley Goodman inquires familial mythologies, folktales, and the greater history of America in an effort to understand what endures, and subsequently how this endurance impacts his own presence in the canon. Goodman often juxtaposes archival imagery and material from his personal collections of artifact and ephemera with research-based, conceptually-driven images. When these elements combine, the resulting work becomes an amalgamation of time, establishing a crafted world that forces the viewer to question the tenants of authenticity. Goodman is a recent graduate of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Richmond.
From Yonder Wooded Hill
I was raised in the Patapsco River Valley southwest of Baltimore, Maryland- an area whose roots in the manufacturing industry trace back to before the Revolutionary War. My mother’s family came to the area generations ago from West Virginia and North Carolina to pursue careers in this same practice. Via familial recounting and greater research, I have begun to explore my blue collar background, along with the prevalence of this storytelling and folklore in my upbringing. They were concepts I had always accepted as normalities of any family but had come to realize with age were unique to my presence within a working class, Appalachian culture. As Charles Joyner states in Shared Traditions: Southern History and Folk Culture: “Folk culture embodies in its traditional chain of transmission the visions and values of the folk themselves…What remains, after forgetting everything that is not truly memorable, is something primal, something very close to the basic poetic impulse of the human species. People neither remember nor forget without reason.” Thus, in From Yonder Wooded Hill, I grapple with what we choose to remember versus what chooses to remember us. The photographic series becomes a combination of people, place, and belief, cognizant and yet also subconscious in the progressing of objects and stories forward through generations. This is seen in everything from stories of second sight and ghosts to familial heirlooms, commonplace moments elevated by experience, and the lore surrounding a specific type of granite found only in Ellicott City, Maryland. By expanding beyond the specificity of one town to the similarities and subtleties in which multiple ancestral locations share, the series becomes a larger remark on cycles of time and endurance- with history as a rippling entity as opposed to a neatly organized linear movement.
To view more of Riley Goodman’s work please visit his website.