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SharePrint David Riffle

Artist David Riffle, born 1947 in Gassaway, Braxton County, works in mixed media. After serving in the Vietnam War, Riffle pursued his education at West Virginia State College (now University). Like many others of his generation, Riffle pulled away from what he saw as the materialistic, conformist views prevalent in American culture in the 1960s. This shift is often reflected in his art in quirky, unusual, and meaningful ways.

Riffle’s art is suffused with a strong sense of place. Most of his early inspiration came from the area around his home of 25 years, a sixty-foot trailer in Poca, Putnam County, where he moved in 1975 after graduating from State. As depicted in his art, this trailer represents some level of security and solitude in a busy, insecure world. Riffle’s work contains many other recurring images as well, including the Great Blue Heron, catfish, the growth of vines, mountains, and water. This imagery sometimes appears in what some commentators have called “fantasy” settings. He has also created many works depicting landmark architecture unique to West Virginia.

Throughout his work, Riffle reveals a strong connection to his home. In recent years, he has made that connection even more tangible, putting his art work on hold to build a home atop Tyler Mountain in Kanawha County, which could be classified as a work of art all its own. In keeping with his artistic and environmental ideals, Riffle built the home with his daughter, Nora, using mostly recycled materials for its construction. Riffle’s carpentry is self-taught, and he relies on library references for further education in the art of construction. Riffle’s artwork is housed in collections at the Clay Center’s Juliet Art Museum and Marshall University, among others.

This Article was written by Christopher Chapman

Last Revised on June 10, 2021


Cite This Article

Chapman, Christopher "David Riffle." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 10 June 2021. Web. 26 September 2021.

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