Colour illustrated hardback published to accompany her 2015 solo exhibition at David Zwirner, Bridget Riley: Works 1981–2015 presents paintings from the last thirty-four years of her career, including images of Rajasthan, a wall painting previously shown in Germany and England, and exhibited for the first time in New York.
These dynamic reproductions begin with stripe paintings from the 1980s and end with a coda of sorts ―a return to black and white that ties back to her work from the 1960s but bear traces of Riley’s deep engagement with colour in the interim. As critic Éric de Chassey puts it in his essay for Riley’s 2015 catalogue with Galerie Max Hetzler: “The black-and-white paintings not only enter into a dialogue with the 1960s works but take stock of every painting experience Riley has created during a long career.”
One of the most significant artists working today, Bridget Riley s dedication to the interaction of form and colour has led to a continued exploration of perception. From the early 1960s, she has used elementary shapes such as lines, circles, curves, and squares to create visual experiences that actively engage the viewer, at times triggering optical sensations of vibration and movement. Her earliest black-and-white compositions offer impressions of several other pigments, while ensuing, multi-chromatic works present colour as an active component. Although abstract, her practice is closely linked with nature, which she understands to be the dynamism of visual forces an event rather than an appearance.
With a career spanning six decades, Bridget Riley remains one of the most exciting painters today, and Bridget Riley: Works 1981–2015 presents a selection of works from what may be her richest period to date.
Richard Shiff is the Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art at The University of Texas at Austin, where he directs the Centre for the Study of Modernism.