This drawing is one of many examples of preparatory studies that Bridget Riley makes for her works; eventually developing them into large-scale paintings. Despite the overt abstraction of her work, Riley derives the greatest inspiration from the forms, light and visual perceptions of nature. She cites the work of early 20th-century artists such as Paul Cézanne, Georges Seurat and Henri Matisse as formative influences on her artistic development in painted form and colour.
Rather than aiming to represent objects or landscapes in an abstract fashion, Riley’s work is predominantly concerned with an exploration of the sensory perceptions of the human eye and the almost physical sensations that an image can provoke. She has commented on the subject of visual perception:
The pleasures of sight have one characteristic in common – they take you by surprise ... They are essentially enigmatic and elusive. One can stare at a landscape, for example, which a moment ago seemed vibrant and find it inert and dull – so one cannot say that this lively quality of sight is simply ‘out there in nature’, or easily available to be commanded as wished.
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.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.