Gay Riseborough is a well-known portrait and figure painter. She taught for fourteen years at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and ten, before that, at the Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL. Her portraits were represented by Portraits/Chicago. Her work hangs from Paris to California, in prestigious collections, i.e. Northwestern University, Loyola Medical Center, Monmouth College, Beloit College, Southern Illinois University, Washington University St. Louis, and in corporations and private homes.
Her “Dark Times” series of large, narrative self-portraits (1999) received critical acclaim and was shown in one-person exhibitions at Wood Street Gallery in Chicago and at several regional colleges. Individual pieces from that series are often invited into Chicago area group exhibitions. In later years, Gay taught small classes in her Evanston studio, retiring in 2011. She has often been called on to jury and to judge local art fair exhibitions. Currently, she serves on the Evanston Arts Council, as Chair of the Public Art Committee, which selects and commissions art for public placement.
I grew up with large books of Renaissance figure painting, one magical family portrait, beautifully illustrated books of fairy tales, and magazines featuring the popular, glamorous illustrators of the day. I chose Illustration as my major in art school at Washington University, St. Louis. I worked a few years in commercial art, but retired to have babies and to paint them. I am primarily a people person, seeing people as basically beautiful and worthy. I loved drawing from the figure, painting portraits, getting to know my sitters, the challenge of working with them to create a piece to satisfy both my own aesthetic, the clients’ vision and, if possible, my narrative impulse.