Bridget Riley: Recent Paintings 2014–2017

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ISBN: 9781941701911 Category:

Richard Shiff

Description

The quest for discovery through looking is the driving force of Bridget Riley’s work, as she has written: “More than anything else I want my paintings to exist on their own terms. That is to say they must stealthily engage and disarm you. There the paintings hang, deceptively simple— telling no tales as it were—resisting, in a well-behaved way, all attempts to be questioned, probed or stared at and then, for those with open eyes, serenely disclosing some intimations of the splendours to which pure sight alone has the key.”

This publication unfolds along the lines of Riley’s 2018 exhibition at David Zwirner, London. Beginning with an exploration of black-and-white equilateral triangles, Riley leads the viewer into an awareness of the ways in which a surface—wall or canvas—can affect a seemingly simple form: the triangle. While she demonstrates these subtle changes, Riley manipulates this form by bending its sides. At first sight the viewer may experience this as a breaking apart, but as one continues to look, serpentine movements appear, or large shadowy triangles, which advance and recede. These paintings constantly reinvent themselves through looking.

Riley is revisiting and developing works which she initiated over fifty years ago, as is shown here by the inclusion of Black to White Discs (1962–1965) in the exhibition. This diamond formation of discs, which graduates in tone from white to black and back again, offers a lead-in to her new body of work. In Cosmos and the Measure for Measure series, Riley recalls a group of subtly shaded colors used this time in discs. While the compositions remain fundamentally the same, the play of colors changes every time.

The exhibition ends with a surprisingly spacious wall painting that offers the viewer many delights, not least among them a dance of fugitive white lights. Here, Riley disarms the viewer, encouraging us once again in an adventure of discovery. In his essay, Richard Shiff explores Riley’s ability to give new life to basic forms as she invites the audience, any audience, to help participate in the painting.

Additional information

Weight 839 g
Dimensions 24.7 x 30.6 cm
Publisher name David Zwirner Books
Publication date 15 December 2018
Number of pages 96
Format Hardback
Dimensions 24.7 x 30.6 cm
Weight 839 g

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Bridget Riley was born in 1931 in London, where she attended Goldsmiths College from 1949 to 1952 and the Royal College of Art from 1952 to 1955. One of the most significant artists working today, her dedication to the interaction of form and color has led to a continued exploration of perception. Riley’s visual vocabulary is complemented by her numerous books and essays in which she explores concepts pertaining to her own practice as well as the works of several other artists. In 1968, Riley won the International Prize for Painting at the Venice Biennale. In 1974, she was made a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) and in 1999, appointed the Companion of Honour. She was awarded Honorary Doctor of Letters by Oxford University in 1994. In 2003, the artist was awarded the Praemium Imperiale in Tokyo. She received the Kaiser Ring of the City of Goslar, Germany in 2009 and the Rubens Prize of the City of Siegen, Germany in 2012. Richard Shiff is the Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art at The University of Texas at Austin, where he directs the Center for the Study of Modernism. His scholarly interests range broadly across the field of modern and contemporary art and theory, with publications that include Critical Terms for Art History (co-edited, 1996; second edition, 2003), Barnett Newman: A Catalogue Raisonné (co-authored, 2004), Doubt (2008), Between Sense and De Kooning (2011), and Ellsworth Kelly: New York Drawings 1954–1962 (2014).