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Art Basel in Hong Kong: Exhibitions to See Ocula Report Art Basel in Hong Kong: Exhibitions to See 23 Mar 2019 : Tessa Moldan for Ocula

For those visiting during Art Basel in Hong Kong (29–31 March 2019), the smell of fresh paint may still be in the air at the latest heritage conservation project, The Mills, which opened on 16 March to encompass the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textiles (CHAT), joining the ranks with ex-prison complex Tai Kwun, along with Eaton HK—a retro...

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Firenze Lai Ocula Conversation Firenze Lai

Firenze Lai says that she knows her studio of a few hundred square feet intimately; from the textures of its surfaces to the way the breeze blows into the room. The spaces depicted in her paintings are equally intimate. When curators seem to be at a loss for words to discuss troubled times, fear of containment, and the feeling of being completely...

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Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber Ocula Report Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber 15 Mar 2019 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

In Meiro Koizumi's three-channel video installation, The Angels of Testimony (2019), the central frame features an interview with Hajime Kondo about his time as a solider of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The conversation centres on war crimes perpetrated in China, including the beheading of Chinese prisoners for...

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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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Rose Rose by Bridget Riley contemporary artwork Bridget RileyRose Rose, 2011 Screenprint
87 x 69.5 cm
Karsten Schubert
Red by Bridget Riley contemporary artwork Bridget RileyRed, 2005 Screenprint
44.7 x 91 cm
Karsten Schubert
Large Fragment 2 by Bridget Riley contemporary artwork Bridget RileyLarge Fragment 2, 2009 Screenprint
151.6 x 105.7 cm
Karsten Schubert
Sideways by Bridget Riley contemporary artwork Bridget RileySideways, 2010 Screenprint
29 x 17 cm
Karsten Schubert
Measure for Measure 25 by Bridget Riley contemporary artwork Bridget RileyMeasure for Measure 25, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
156 x 156 cm
Sprüth Magers
Frieze by Bridget Riley contemporary artwork Bridget RileyFrieze, 2000 Screenprint
47.6 x 72.4 cm
Karsten Schubert
Untitled (Fragment 6) by Bridget Riley contemporary artwork Bridget RileyUntitled (Fragment 6), 1965 Screenprint on Plexiglas
73.8 x 74.5 cm
Karsten Schubert
Shade by Bridget Riley contemporary artwork Bridget RileyShade, 1992 Screenprint
53 x 38.8 cm
Karsten Schubert

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Robert Fraser’s Groovy Arts Club Band at Gazelli Art House, London
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
16 November 2018–26 January 2019 Bridget Riley Painting Now Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles
Contemporary art exhibition, Bridget Riley, Recent Paintings 2014-2017 at David Zwirner, London
19 January–10 March 2018 Bridget Riley Recent Paintings 2014-2017 David Zwirner, London

Represented By

In Related Press

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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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Radical Transformations Related Press Radical Transformations Aesthetica Magazine : 22 February 2017

Kaleidoscope casts fresh perspectives over the creations of the period, bringing into view the relationship between rationality and absurdity, colour and form, order and unruliness. Curated by Sam Cornish and Natalie Rudd, the exhibition draws on collection's holdings, alongside significant loans, for the first retrospective of its kind in over 20...

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Getting to grips with the nature of art at Mona Related Press Getting to grips with the nature of art at Mona Apollo : 23 January 2017

Since opening in 2011, the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) in Hobart, Australia, has put man’s biological impulses and realities at the heart of its curatorial mission. Mona’s founder David Walsh declared infamously that the only relevant themes in contemporary art (and the ones guiding his personal collection) were sex and death. Newspaper...

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