Line, shape and colour are manipulated by Bridget Riley to develop elegantly complex patterns that draw attention to the physical process of perception.
Although her works do not appear to be based on any particular patterns from the real world, Riley is nevertheless influenced by the effects of nature on the human eye. The experience of looking at these abstract arrangements has been compared to impressions of light and movement, such as the reflection of sunlight on rippling water, or of light passing through leaves. While Riley has observed that the visible world is often far more dazzling than her paintings, she has also pointed out that the connection with nature is central to her work.
Early in her career Riley worked primarily in black and white, exploring the startling visual effects produced by the contrasting tones. Around 1970 she turned to colour, which she described as being ‘closer to our experience of the real world. Unstable and incalculable, it is also rich and comforting’.
Riley is one of a number of twentieth-century artists who have challenged the assumption that works of art must always be made by the artist’s own hand. She creates full-scale preparatory drawings, from which studio assistants, working under her supervision, complete the final work.
Curated by Helen Sainsbury.