Join our mailing list

Profile

Bridget Riley is an English painter and printmaker, famous as one of the foremost proponents of ‘Op Art’. Riley was born in South London and spent her childhood between Cornwall and Lincolnshire before studying Painting at Goldsmiths' College from 1949 to 1952, and at the Royal College of Art from 1952 to 1955. In the early 1960s Riley began to develop her breed of optically charged abstraction, at first working predominantly in black and white and then from 1967 onwards devoting her attention increasingly to colour. In 1968 she became the first British, and the first female, artist to win the International Prize for painting at the Venice Biennale. Her work has been the subject of retrospectives at the Tate, and across the world.

As with ‘Op Art’ contemporaries Riley’s art is commonly formed of with simple, yet visually charged, abstract, geometric patterns. These patterns set up a flickering optical illusion, which can appear to suggest depth, movement and colour and destabilises our understanding of the objects physical properties. In according priority to the viewer’s perceptual response Riley’s work fits in with that of many abstract artists of her generation, including the US Minimalists, and it was included in the landmark 1965 show of that movement, The Responsive Eye at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Over the past half century she has continued her explorations - exhibiting, writing, teaching and curating widely and becoming one of the most lucid propagandists of abstraction. Her work has had untold influence on generations of artists and designers.

Bridget RILEY