Bridget Riley's "Reflection" is characteristic of her work in its engagement with optical effects. The palette of colours used in this painting was taken from the wall paintings of Egypt. Riley visited Egypt for the first time in the winter of 1981 and was struck by the colours used by ancient Egyptian artists, particularly by their practice of using a very restricted palette. "Reflection" was one of the first paintings she made based on these ancient colours, which she recreated from memory. As with many of Riley's works, the pattern of the lines appears to constantly shift and vibrate.
Bridget Riley was born in London. She first studied art history and life drawing at school and later attended Goldsmiths College and the Royal College of Art, London, in the 1950s. In 1965, her work came to international attention following her participation in the acclaimed Op Art exhibition 'The Responsive Eye', at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Riley was the first English contemporary artist, and the first woman, to win the International Prize at the Venice Biennale in 1968 and she went on to exhibit and travel widely around the world during the 1970s and 80s. Her exploration of the relationships between colour, form and her perception of the natural world continue to be central tenets of her work today.
In 1995, Riley selected and co-curated a major Mondrian exhibition at the Tate, London. She was appointed a Companion of Honour in 1999. A major retrospective of her work was held at the Tate in 2003, which attracted major public and critical interest. Riley has written extensively about her work, including 'The Eye’s Mind: Bridget Riley: Collected Writings 1965–2009', co-authored with Robert Kudielka.
In 2012, Riley was officially awarded the 12th Rubens Prize from the city of Siegen, Germany, an award presented every five years to a painter living in Europe in honour of their lifetime’s artistic accomplishment. In 2016, a yearlong major exhibition celebrating 50 years of painting by Riley opened at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.
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