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Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide Ocula Conversation Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide

Ongoing since 2012, the Real DMZ Project interrogates the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea through annual, research-based exhibitions that bring together the works of Korean and international artists. Sunjung Kim, the independent curator behind the project, conceived the idea of exploring the DMZ while curating Japanese artist...

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Sydney Lowdown: Exhibitions to See Ocula Report Sydney Lowdown: Exhibitions to See 6 Sep 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The fifth edition of Sydney Contemporary will take place once again at Carriageworks between 12 and 15 September 2019, with Spring 1883 bringing together a cohort of 27 galleries from across Australia and the region to inhabit rooms at the Establishment Hotel from 11 to 14 September 2019, uniquely presenting contemporary works propped up on...

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Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum Ocula Insight | Video Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum 16 August 2019

Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...

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Bridget Riley

b. 1931, United Kingdom

English artist Bridget Riley is best known as one of the early proponents of the Op art movement of the 1960s. Riley studied at Goldsmiths in London, between 1949 and 1952, and continued her education at the Royal College of Art in London, from 1952 to 1955.

Her earliest works were semi-Impressionist figure paintings, followed, from around 1958, by pointillist landscapes. During the late 1950s and early 1960s Riley took up several teaching positions in the U.K, including the Loughborough University School of the Arts, Hornsey College of Art and Croydon School of Art. In 1960 she also entered the employ of the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency.

In the 1960s, Riley began to develop her trademark style: abstract geometric patterns in black and white, composed of curved parallel lines and dots, checkers or triangles arranged in disorienting grid-like or spiral patterns. These combinations form impossible shapes that appear to move, pulsate and undulate before the viewer's eyes, producing sensations of falling and wave-like motion. In 1961, due to increased scale and a need to retain precision, she began working with assistants to produce her work. Her first solo show was in 1962 at Victor Musgrave's, Gallery One.

Riley abandoned teaching and advertising in the mid-1960s as her art practice expanded. The 1965 Museum of Modern Art exhibition, The Responsive Eye, drew international attention to the work of Riley and other Op artists. Riley represented Op art to the world alongside artists such as Yaacov Agam, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Frank Stella and Op art's earliest proponent, Victor Vasarely. Her work Current (1964), made of synthetic polymer paint on exhibition board, fronted the exhibition catalogue.

Having set form free from its descriptive role through her black and white works, in 1967 Riley turned to colour. It was a cautious foray at first, as a common perception of colour is that it does not disrupt stable elements in as crisp and orderly a manner as black and white. As exemplified in the canvas Cataract 3 (1967) she began using consistent, stable forms such as the wavy line, and relying on the visual effect of groups of coloured lines (usually faint) in the spaces between to create the desired sensation of movement.

The response to colour became a more central focus of Riley's works in the 1970s. The works from this period are emotional yet peaceful. In the acrylic painting Zing 1 (1971), she introduced the theme of the colour twist, where twisted vertical stripes create horizontal bands. In these twists, the colours are still muted, and grey is often included among them. Riley also adopted the principle of colour induction: blending one colour into another. These elements led to a long series of vertical stripe paintings. Toward the mid-1970s, her curvilinear forms, both in horizontal and vertical formats, became more prominent. Only her works after 1978, however, feature more than three colours.

A visit to Egypt in 1979–80 left Riley inspired by the colours of Egyptian art. In the 'Ka' and 'Ra' series she worked the colours into a composition of close, thin vertical lines. These images shimmer with intensity while marking the expulsion of a sense of order or progression in her work. She also worked outside the studio in this decade, the most notable project being the murals for Royal Liverpool Hospital (1983), which utilised bands of blue, white, pink and yellow to create a soft and relaxing atmosphere.

Between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s, Riley produced her most colourful and dazzling paintings. Works such as the screenprint To Midsummer (1989) and the oil painting From Here (1994) incorporated a diagonal element that cut from left to right across the verticals, creating an alternating rhythm through the contrast of different vivid colours. This disruptive element softened in the late 1990s and early 2000s to something more fluid and curvilinear that broke out of the square format.

Riley has recently expanded her methodologies once again by revisiting her horizontal and vertical line formats with new colour arrangements. She continues to develop, exploring new motifs such as the tessellating arrow-forms of the 'Bagatelle' (2015) and 'Sonnet' (2016) series of screen prints.

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Featured Artworks

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Fold by Bridget Riley contemporary artwork
Bridget RileyFold, 2004 Screenprint
100.3 x 303.8 cm
Karsten Schubert
Untitled [Fragment 3] by Bridget Riley contemporary artwork
Bridget RileyUntitled [Fragment 3], 1965 Screenprint on plexiglass
62.2 x 80.5 cm
Sold
Karsten Schubert
Untitled [Fragment 1] by Bridget Riley contemporary artwork
Bridget RileyUntitled [Fragment 1], 1965 Screenprint on plexiglass
67.4 x 83.9 cm
Sold
Karsten Schubert
Wall Painting 1 (print) by Bridget Riley contemporary artwork
Bridget RileyWall Painting 1 (print), 2007 Screenprint
56 x 91.5 cm
Karsten Schubert
Composition With Circles 4 by Bridget Riley contemporary artwork
Bridget RileyComposition With Circles 4, 2004 Digital
100.3 x 303.8 cm
Karsten Schubert
Leap by Bridget Riley contemporary artwork
Bridget RileyLeap, 2008 Screenprint
44.5 x 83.8 cm
Karsten Schubert
Measure for Measure 24 by Bridget Riley contemporary artwork
Bridget RileyMeasure for Measure 24, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
156 x 156 cm
Sprüth Magers
Rose Rose by Bridget Riley contemporary artwork
Bridget RileyRose Rose, 2011 Screenprint
87 x 69.5 cm
Karsten Schubert

Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Interaction of Colour at Cristea Roberts Gallery, London
Open Now
7 September–26 October 2019 Group Exhibition Interaction of Colour Cristea Roberts Gallery, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Robert Fraser’s Groovy Arts Club Band at Gazelli Art House, London
Closed
11 January–23 February 2019 Group Exhibition Robert Fraser’s Groovy Arts Club Band Gazelli Art House, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Bridget Riley, Painting Now at Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles
Closed
16 November 2018–26 January 2019 Bridget Riley Painting Now Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles

Represented By

In Related Press

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Bridget Riley’s Razzle-Dazzle Career Related Press Bridget Riley’s Razzle-Dazzle Career Hyperallergic : 14 September 2019

Even for those familiar with modernism's history in the latter half of the 20th century, the story of the life of the British painter Bridget Riley and the development of her work is not very well known. Now, though, Paul Moorhouse's well-researched, lucid new biography, Bridget Riley: A Very Very Person (Ridinghouse, 2019) may help reveal to a...

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The Making of An Artist: How Bridget Riley Became the Queen of Op Art Related Press The Making of An Artist: How Bridget Riley Became the Queen of Op Art Elephant : 1 September 2019

Bridget Riley is a name so familiar that it seems baffling nobody has previously written in-depth about her early years, and how she rose to such a stellar place in our cultural lexicon. A new book from publisher Ridinghouse explores her journey from British wartime beginnings to her rise as darling of the New York art world—and one of the...

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Vanishing Point: Bridget Riley’s Elusive Art Related Press Vanishing Point: Bridget Riley’s Elusive Art Elephat : 23 January 2018

The work of Bridget Riley (b. 1931) has always created something barely there, disappearing even as you glimpse it. At the preview for her new show Recent Paintings 2014–2017 at David Zwirner in Mayfair, the 86-year-old artist appeared unannounced to speak for a few minutes and vanish again. She rarely does publicity for her work. The gallery only...

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Bridget Riley – A Seductive Collaborative Invitation – By Edward Lucie-Smith Related Press Bridget Riley – A Seductive Collaborative Invitation – By Edward Lucie-Smith Artylst : 22 January 2018

One of the truly impressive things about Riley's career in the sense of unhurried progression one gets from her work. One thing leads to another. Riley speaks of what she does as being a dialogue. First of all, her dialogue with the painting – the painted surface. Then the communication from the evolving image to herself, as she works on that...

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