NORMAN — Patrick Riley sees the world through different eyes. Often, it's through the eyes of one of his intricate masks.
“You look at our own faces, we are a mask. I see some of the kids I've taught at schools, and the only part you can recognize as they get older is the eyes. The rest of the mask is always changing,” he said.
His decades of experience in mask-making have turned him into one of the region's renowned artists in the medium. He will bring those talents to the Pioneer Library System's Teen Summer Reading Program schedule of events this year.
Riley will be featured in library presentations at 2 p.m. June 5, Norman; June 6, Shawnee; June 7, Noble; June 11, Southwest Oklahoma City; June 12, Tecumseh; June 13, McLoud; June 14, Blanchard; June 18, Moore; June 19, Purcell; and June 22, Newcastle.
Riley is part of the Oklahoma Arts Council's Artist in Residency Program and has more than 30 years of experience in making masks.
He completed his master's degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1971. At that time, he primarily worked as a metalsmith and designer, working on projects that were physically much larger than the masks that would become his specialty after he became more interested in working with leather.
His art regularly has combined with other arts. In the 1970s, Riley created a set of masks for an Oklahoma City Ballet performance. He's also made about 100 masks for Prairie Dance Theatre in Oklahoma City.
Riley created a show and exhibit in the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., that led to working with an African dance company there. He also had a gallery in New York in the 1970s and has traveled the world giving exhibitions and finding inspiration for masks.
For 10 years, he served as fine arts director for Oklahoma City Public Schools, where he was instrumental in the launching of the Classen School of Advanced Studies, an art-focused school for students in grades six through 12.