Bridget Riley

Selected Works

Measure for Measure 27

acrylic on linen
156 x 156 cm.; 61 3/8 x 61 3/8 in.
Photo: Anna Arca

“In 1959, Bridget Riley copied Georges Seurat's painting The Bridge at Courbevoie (1887-1888). In 2017, she was copying Seurat's painting The Couple (1884). In both cases, she was working from a reproduction; in both cases, she was diverging from the original in a conscious way: in 1959, by changing the dimensions and format, as well as adding new colours; in 2017, by starting from a slightly hued ground instead of a white canvas. One should note that there is hardly more chronological distance between Seurat's Bridge at Courbevoie and Riley's than there is between Riley's first copy and her more recent one. In the meantime, she has become a renowned abstract painter and her knowledge of the French artist has become much deeper (just as the bibliography on his work has been expanding immensely, in sync with the number of exhibitions devoted to it.) And while her own paintings at the time of her 1959 copy were versions of what she could grasp and use from her predecessor's, they are now the result of a lifelong engagement with abstraction and painting reduced to its essentials, not looking much like Seurat's. I saw the 2017 copy – alongside several other studies from Seurat – in Riley's studio at the same time as I first saw Measure for Measure 1 (2016). A square painting composed of sixty-one discs of the same size in three greyed secondary colours (off-green, off-violet and off-orange), arranged according to a tight and regular grid of eleven lines and columns, spaced on an immaculate white background. It is part of a series of Disc Paintings (2016-2017), along with other paintings and wall works that use the same devices in various combinations of rectangular and square grids, always with the same three colours. This series is as much a result of Riley looking one more time at Seurat – especially in the context of the exhibition explicitly titled Bridget Riley: Learning from Seurat that took place at the Courtaud Gallery from September 2015 to January 2016 - as it is a new exploration of the visual effects obtained by the repetition on a limited surface of discs which vary only in colour.”

É. de Chassey, ‘The Pleasures of Perception’, in Bridget Riley: Measure for Measure, New Disc Paintings, exh. cat., Berlin: Galerie Max Hetzler, 2018, p. 17


oil on canvas
175.3 x 332.3 cm.; 69 x 130 3/4 in.
Collection: Long Museum, Shanghai
Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates, London

“Whereas in the early vertical stripe paintings colour interaction was activated by a horizontal reading of neighbouring colours, with this new body the viewer can read colour harmonies and contrasts both vertically and horizontally. The new horizontal stripe paintings suggest an affinity with landscape. Although dominated by reds, oranges and yellows, and spatially punctuated by strong accents of blues, purples and greens, these paintings reflect Riley’s deep admiration for Monet as well as Seurat.”

R. Kudielka, A. Tommasini and N. Naish, ‘Synopsis 2009-2017’, in Bridget Riley: The Complete Paintings, Volume 4, 2009-2017, London: The Bridget Riley Art Foundation and Thames & Hudson, 2018, p. 1124

“The particular proportions of the new horizontal paintings have been chosen to lead the eye both up the canvas and across its horizontal span. In this journey the viewer enters a colour space, which advances and recedes, hollowing the surface and raising crests of colour.”

R. Kudielka, A. Tommasini and N. Naish, in Bridget Riley: The Complete Paintings, Volume 4, 2009-2017, London: The Bridget Riley Art Foundation and Thames & Hudson, 2018, p. 1374

Light Shade 1

acrylic on polyester
129.8 x 150 cm.; 51 x 59 in.

“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. In 2009 she remarked: 'I had to work through the black-and-white paintings before I could even begin to think about possibilities of colour.' The 2014-15 paintings stem from the reverse: a working through the colour paintings has enabled her to come to a new series of black-and-white works.”

É. de Chassey, ‘Unbound Certainties’, in Bridget Riley, exh. cat., Berlin: Galerie Max Hetzler, 2015, pp. 29-30

Quiver 2

graphite and acrylic paint on wall
330 x 634 cm.; 129 7/8 x 249 5/8 in. (wall size)
Collection: Rennie Collection, Vancouver
Installation view:
REMEMBER EVERYTHING: 40 years Galerie Max Hetzler, Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, 2013
Photo: def image

“While working on an ongoing series of horizontal stripe paintings that she had begun in 2012, Riley reverted to black and white and to a format that uses a combination of more or less triangular shapes. The new series was heralded by a wall painting commissioned for the lobby of the Contemporary Art Museum in Siegen, Germany, and completed in 2013, titled Quiver 1 – this was promptly joined by Quiver 2. As with a large number of Riley's wall works, they are in black and white, and yet they differ from the previous colourless wall works  (1998-2008) – all of which were wall drawings rather than wall paintings – in which overlapping figures were drawn in black lines on a white ground, animated principally by their intersections. Instead, both Quiver 1 and Quiver 2 emphasise the interplay of active and passive shapes. In each of these wall paintings, a cloud of large white triangles is created optically by a succession of smaller black shapes made from the combination of two circular segments, which recall a pair of wings. The whole composition is dynamic and – although without colour – takes its lead from Riley's previous wall paintings including Rajasthan (2012), which since 2007 have adapted the principles of her large curve paintings (begun in 1997) to decorative projects.”

É. de Chassey, ‘Unbound Certainties’, in Bridget Riley, exh. cat., Berlin: Galerie Max Hetzler, 2015, p. 27

Rose Red

oil on linen
132 x 238 cm.; 52 x 93 3/4 in.

Rose Red (2012) stands at the beginning of the resulting, new phase. With the stripe as the vehicle for this celebratory activity, in Rose Red and other paintings completed since 2012, the format switched to the horizontal. Having previously avoided a landscape connotation, such works accommodate it. That said, the sensuous warmth of Riley's palette, which includes rose red, purple, bright orange, yellow and magenta, seems more redolent of human life than place. These colours intimate her long-standing admiration for Renoir's palette. Her chromatic range can also be understood in relation to studies made in 2012 connected with a corridor wall painting contemplated for St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London. In those preparatory works, Riley deliberately embraced uplifting colours with the human body. However, the expansive scale of the new paintings leads to nature. This feeling is also engendered by a further, surprising reprise of earlier preoccupations. The paintings' structure now embraced the purely plastic requirements of sensation but also moves beyond that imperative. Accentuating the picture plane with its stresses and intervals, colour generates a perception of light and movement that animates the entire visual field. The result is a constantly changing pageant – a chromatic suffusion – that unfolds before the observer.”

P. Moorhouse, Bridget Riley: The Stripe Paintings 1961-2012, exh. cat., Berlin: Galerie Max Hetzler and Holzwarth Publications, 2013, pp.4 6-47


oil on linen
211 x 167.5 cm.; 83 1/8 x 66 in.
Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates, London

“The new 'stripe paintings' use the means that had been laid aside twenty-five years before, and, in reproduction at least, they appear very similar, although the feeling they actually give is rather different. Their palette has been almost entirely carried over from the last 'Egyptian paintings': close in value, their colours are sometimes bracketed in pairs or triads of close hues. But where Saraband appears unambiguously structured by the rhythm of the darkest stripes – a deep green – the new 'stripe paintings' are more unified. The functions of structure and improvisations within the composition become more interchangeable, a result, certainly, of the way the curves were wrapped around implicit poles in the 'large curve paintings'. In Lux, the main rhythmic structure seems initially to depend upon five darker stripes; in fact it is composed of four green stripes encompassing an additional stripe which is not green but blue. This inclusion is the result of the blue stripe being close in tone and value to the green stripes but also of its placement just off-centre. Colour in these paintings is declaratively interactive; each hue, pitch and tone appears to change according to its neighbours and to the instant in which it is registered in the viewer's perception.”

É. de Chassey, ‘If you can't go wrong, there's absolutely no way you can go right’, in Bridget Riley – Malerei/Painting 1980-2012, exh. cat., Siegen: Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen, 2012, p. 32

Arcadia 1 (Wall Painting 1)

graphite and acrylic on wall
266.5 x 498.5 cm.; 104 7/8 x 196 1/4 in.

“Since 2007 Riley has pursued a concurrent activity involving architectural settings that, like the wall drawings, draws directly on her paintings. Her exhibition at Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, held that year, included a new kind of work painted directly onto the gallery wall. Arcardia I (Wall Painting 1) (2007) was evidently closely connected with her works on canvas comprising sinuous curves, a body of work that had commenced ten years earlier with Rêve (1999). In that earlier series, the paintings are composed of interlocking planes of colour whose elegant, serpentine lines evoke a kind of disembodied movement. Disclosed in a carnival of colour, their sweeping motion is redolent of dance but also the undulations of nature. In a compelling extension of that visual language, the wall painting, and also its successors Arcadia 2 (2009), Arcadia 3 (2009) and Rajasthan (2012), break beyond the rectangle imposed by a conventional painting stretcher. Having migrated to the real space of an architectural setting, these pictorial elements are liberated. Admitting the white backdrop within their own space, the wall paintings also permit the curves to extend outwards, probing the surrounding area. With this simple yet fascinating extension of painting's domain, the virtual and real are married: art drawing ever closer to – yet just holding back from – the surrounding world.”

P. Moorhouse, ‘The Identity of Place in Bridget Riley's Art’, in Bridget Riley – The Stripe Paintings 1961-2014, exh. cat., London: David Zwirner, 2014, pp. 131-132

Composition with Circles 4

wall drawing
392.2 x 1671.2 cm.; 154 3/8 x 658 in.
Installation view: Bridget Riley: Paintings and Related Works 1983-2010, Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, 2011
Photo: def image

“Between 1997 and 2003, she created her first three wall drawings. The work that commenced this series, Composition with Circles I (1998), was installed at the Kunsthalle Bern in May 1998. Its immediate successors were displayed at the Center for the Arts, New York and in her major Tate Britain retrospective held in 2003. Since then, a further four wall drawings have been shown in Sydney, Berlin, Paris and […] at the National Gallery, London in 2010-11. Each of these large temporary installations comprised a field of abutting and overlapping circles of regular size applied directly in paint paint on a white wall. In contrast to the Citibank commission which situated colour within a void, the wall drawings involve a physical surface within an architectural setting. The premise, therefore, is the migration of abstract shapes into fabric of a real context. Echoing her earlier black-and-white paintings, a perceptual situation is then created. A major development is that the viewer experiences this on a vastly enlarged scale and in relation to their own situation and bodily propositions.”

P. Moorhouse, ‘The Identity of Place in Bridget Riley's Art’, in Bridget Riley – The Stripe Paintings 1961-2014, exh. cat., London: David Zwirner, 2014, p. 126 and 131

Evoë 3

acrylic and oil paint on canvas
193.4 x 582 cm.; 76 1/8 x 229 1/8 in.
Collection: Tate, London
Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates, London

“In June 2000 when Bridget Riley showed her new curvilinear paintings for the first time, at Waddington Galleries in London, she was surprised to find that they seemed to be immediately accepted. At the opening of the exhibition the late Bryan Roberson, who had followed her career since the early 1960s and organised her first retrospective at the Hayward Gallery, in 1971, said to her: 'This is the easiest work you have ever done.' Indeed the appearance of the paintings seems to be much less demanding than that of the preceding rhomboid images, or of any earlier group. The number of colours in Rêve (1999), Parade 2 (1999-2000) and Evoë 3 (2003) is limited to four and the structure is characterised by broad, curved shapes moving at an even pace across the canvas. Only after a while does one become aware that this ease is not the result of a simplification or mere enlargement of the formal elements, but a triumph of Riley's structural ingenuity. The works' apparent boldness and simplicity completely conceal the fact that they embody distinctly different layers of ordering.”

R. Kudielka, Robert Kudielka on Bridget Riley – Essays and interviews 1972-2003, London: Ridinghouse, 2005

Lagoon 1

oil on canvas
147 x 193 cm.; 58 x 76 in.
Collection: The Lambrecht-Schadeberg Collection, Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen
Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates, London

Lagoon 1 is Bridget Riley’s first step towards a curvilinear movement in her Rhomboid paintings. A curve segment is incorporated in the vertical register of the stripes and the diagonal field. The title Lagoon can be seen as a remote echo of her visit to Tahiti and the round, lagoon-shaped cut-outs in Henri Matisse’s Jazz (1947). Matisse used this element because the lagoon curve is stationary yet dynamic. Similarly, Bridget Riley was interested in finding a non-directional movement that stayed in itself, much like a lagoon.”

R. Kudielka, A. Tommasini and N. Naish, in Bridget Riley: The Complete Paintings, Volume 2, 1974-1997, London: The Bridget Riley Art Foundation and Thames & Hudson, 2018, p. 944


oil on canvas
165.1 x 227.7 cm.; 65 x 89 5/8 in.
Collection: Tate, London
Photo: John Webb

“I searched for a new form that did not have the familiar identity of squares, triangles, ovals, etc. Eventually I found what I was looking for in the conjunction of the vertical and the diagonal. This conjunction was the new form. It could be seen as a patch of colour […] acting almost like a brush mark. When enlarged, these formal patches became coloured planes that could take up different positions in space. They could serve several functions and being contained they were also movable: could change scale, harmonise or contrast with one another, repeat echo, 'create places', etc. A whole new field of relationships opened up.”

B. Riley, ‘Work’, in Bridget Riley: Flashback, exh. cat., London: Walker Art Gallery, 2009


oil on canvas
171.8 x 142.9 cm.; 67 5/8 x 56 1/4 in.
Collection: Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York

“The predominantly structural 'wave paintings' from the late 1970's, where lines and colours created a grid pattern of sorts, now gave way in 1980 to the new 'stripe paintings' that Riley herself referred to […] as a 'rich vein of colour thinking': compositions made up of vertical stripes where the colours suddenly emerge with a new freedom and individuality, paintings that resonate with tones and colours chords like a harp and that play whole melodies as the eye travels to and from in a complex pattern of movements. The uniformly narrow, vertical stripes form the overall structure, but in a sense they are also the strings on a musical instrument designed to produce the sounds and resonances that are so important here. The paintings emerge from the interaction of colour movements. The colours generate a form of motion in which all the various parts communicate with each other, 'a context in which relatedness as such is of the first importance', as Bridget Riley herself once said with the reference to the colour connections within a painting by Titian. The Egyptian palette that inspired this new phase was followed over the years by other colour constellations, including a very different Renoir-palette, with myriad oranges and pinkish reds shot through with blues and greens.”

L. Grisebach, ‘In order to see one had to paint’, in Bridget Riley – Malerei/Painting 1980-2012, exh. cat., Siegen: Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen, 2012, pp. 21-22


oil on canvas
169.5 x 142.5 cm.; 66 3/4 x 56 1/8 in.
Collection: Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich
Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates, London

“On a visit to Egypt in the winter of 1979/80 she discovered the art of the tomb painters who managed to recreate the splendour of daylight in subterranean darkness, and as a result she felt encouraged to shift her own 'palette' towards relatively pure and brilliant hues. In addition she changed from acrylic to oil colour because of the higher saturation of the medium. […] The new depth and volume are rooted in a different compositional approach. The appearance of the paintings no longer springs from the structural positioning of colours on the surface of the canvas, but rather the other way round: sensation now precedes articulation. Instead of letting the powers of perception become visible, Riley has begun to organise the sensations provided by her perceptual use of colour.”

R. Kudielka, Robert Kudielka on Bridget Riley – Essays and interviews 1972-2003, London: Ridinghouse, 2005

Streak 1

acrylic on canvas
116 x 251.5 cm.; 45 5/8 x 99 1/8 in.
Collection: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

“The curve paintings in particular, on which Riley worked between 1973 and 1980, generate undulating fields of light and movement. They dissolve colour, as if in rising haze of heat or a rippling current. Such paintings have been identified with a growing serenity, perhaps a growing refinement. This is linked possibly formally assertive curves, and a move towards harmonic interaction as opposed to contrast. While there is an element of truth in this – and certainly Riley's paintings at the end of the 1970s appear to radiate a kind of pacific calm – any sense of growing refinement is, arguably, more connected with the degree to which she has resolved the role of perception in her work. By the late 1970s, the experience of her paintings involves a smooth and seamless passage from the initial apprehension of their formal organisation, to a progressive accumulation of sensation, and finally to a flooding of the pictorial field with light and movement.”

P. Moorhouse, ‘The ultimate secret of things: Perception and sensation in Bridget Riley's art’, in Bridget Riley - Paintings and drawings 1961-2004, exh. cat., Sydney: Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2004, p. 20


acrylic on canvas
290.2 x 287.3 cm.; 114 1/4 x 113 1/8 in.
Collection: The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates, London

Paean is like a powerful chant gathering momentum through assembling blocks of colour bands in an apparently random way. But there is an underpinning of order based on the different spatial sensations of these blocks. The greatest depth is in the centre of the canvas whereas towards each side this space is reduced to support the central event.”

B. Riley, ‘Into Colour: in conversation with Robert Kudielka (1978)’, in The Eye’s Mind: Bridget Riley, Collected Writings 1965-2009, London: Ridinghouse, p. 119

Rise 2

acrylic on canvas
165.74 x 322.1 cm.; 65 1/4 x 126 3/4 in.
Collection: Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark
Image: Courtesy of the Dallas Museum of Art

“At that time, it seemed to me that form and colour were incompatible, that they destroyed one another. If I wanted to make colour a central issue, I had to give up the complexities of form with which I had been working. In the straight line I had one of the most fundamental forms. The line has direction and length, it lends itself to simple repetition and by its regularity it simultaneously supports and counteracts the fugitive, fleeting character of colour.”

B. Riley, ‘At the End of my Pencil’, in London Review of Books, vol. 31, no. 19, October 2009

Rise 1

acrylic emulsion on canvas
188 x 377.2 cm.; 74 x 148 1/2 in.
Collection: Museums Sheffield
Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates, London

Rise 1 presents orange, violet and green in an irregular sequence of stripes traversing the breadth of the painting. This palette marks a development from the direct opposition of primary colours (red and blue) evident in Late Morning. Instead, orange, violet and green are already composite colours whose proximity leads to other complex, optical combinations. These combinations are characterised by the tendency of certain colours to draw into mutually destabilising pairs which then modify, and are modified by, the third, adjacent colour. The overall effect comes as a surprise – a shield of light traversed by linear stresses of colour, not unlike the experience of looking upon movements on the surface of a lake.”

P. Moorhouse, ‘A Dialogue with Sensation: The Art of Bridget Riley’, in Bridget Riley, exh. cat., London: Tate Publishing, 2003, p. 19

Late Morning

PVA emulsion on canvas
226.1 x 359.4 cm.; 89 x 141 1/2 in.
Collection: Tate, London
Photo: © Tate, London 2019

“From 1967, when she first introduced colour, the emphasis shifts. It is as if the grammar of perception has now been defined, the point made. It's 'overt' presence therefore recedes. In her exploration of colour and its relation to light, perception is still an integral element, but now fully absorbed into the experience of her work. This development is also due to the entirely different character of colour. The central principle of black and white works was one of 'repose, disturbance, repose'. A stable formal situation – a shape or progression of shapes – would be stated, then destabilised by modifications to that shape or progression, then the original shape or sequence would be reasserted. Destabilising a shape, or disrupting a regular formal sequence, was an essential step leading to the intense perceptual experience that resulted. However, as Riley now recognised, the perception of colour is 'inherently' unstable. There is no possibility of setting up a stable situation because the experience of any colour is entirely relative: its appearance and behaviour depend on its context. In perceptual terms, every colour affects, and is affected by its neighbour. The basis of her work in colour is therefore 'continuous' instability.”

P. Moorhouse, ‘The ultimate secret of things: Perception and sensation in Bridget Riley's art’, in Bridget Riley - Paintings and drawings 1961-2004, exh. cat., Sydney: Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2004, p. 19

Deny 2

Polyvinyl ace
emulsion paint on canvas
217.2 x 217.2 cm.; 85 1/2 x 85 1/2 in.
Collection: Tate, London

“In the Deny series (1966-7), Bridget Riley explored tonal movements through turning ovals. To do this she pitched either warm grey ovals against a cold grey ground or cold grey ovals against a warm grey ground. For example, in Deny 1 a cold bluish grey ground contrasts with the warm reddish grey pitches of the ovals. In Deny 2 (1967), the reverse occurs as the warm grey ground opposes the cold grey of the oval movements.
While the ground remains constant, the ovals turn on their axes and change in tone, moving from light to dark or vice versa. When the tonal contrast is reduced, the colour increases. These contrasts also create structural forms such as V-shapes. By opposing structural movements with tonal movements, certain visual qualities are challenges, denied and reinstated, thus the title Deny.”

R. Kudielka, A. Tommasini and N. Naish, in Bridget Riley: The Complete Paintings, Volume 1, 1959-1973, London: The Bridget Riley Art Foundation and Thames & Hudson, 2018, p. 238

White Discs 2

emulsion on board
166.5 x 166.5 cm.; 65 1/2 x 65 1/2 in.

“Between 1961 and 1966 a major imperative appears to have been the will to make the perceptual process visible. White Discs 2 for example […] we are made forcibly aware that the experience of the painting is essentially subjective. What we see, in looking at the painting, is not simply its surface characteristics; rather, the visual experience of the work is intimately connected with our inner responses to it. Indeed, the overwhelming impression is that it is only in looking that the true nature of the painting is revealed and completed. The perceptual leap in White Discs 2 is relatively fast. The initial (sensory) phase when the eye accepts the motif passively is defined by a fleeting impression of rows of black discs, of varying size. The view is very quickly overtaken by a secondary (perceptual) stage which is marked by the appearance of numerous ghostly white discs – after-images – which exist alongside their black progenitors. A third, open-ended phase is characterised by the viewer's interaction with the situation as it is now presented. In this stage, the eye moves freely around the pictorial space, alternating between the apprehension of real and virtual images. This process is self-sustaining in that the white after-images reappear, fade and are regenerated indefinitely. The capacity of Riley's art for regeneration, using elements from within itself, is a remarkable aspect of her work.”

P. Moorhouse, ‘The ultimate secret of things: Perception and sensation in Bridget Riley's art’, in Bridget Riley - Paintings and Drawings 1961-2004, exh. cat., Sydney: Museum of Contemporary Art, 2004, p. 16


acrylic on aluminium
209 x 275 x 361.8 cm.; 82 1/4 x 108 1/4 x 142 1/2 in.
Collection: The artist
Photo: def image

“In 1963, Riley created a three-dimensional structure, Continuum, in which the perceptual situation proposed in her paintings acquired a physical fabric that the viewer could enter and actually occupy. Twenty-eight feet long, six feet and ten inches high and twelve feet in diameter (8,5 metres long, 2 metres high and 3,7 metres in diameter), Continuum comprised a continuous vertical surface that coiled around itself, producing a sanctum-like space accessed by the tall aperture between the ends of the encircling wall. The inner surface of this construction was entirely painted black and white. A powerfully directional composition was formed by large chevron shapes, expanding and contracting, that pointed the way to the work's centre. Standing or sitting within the confined wall, the viewer was completely surrounded and, in that situation, became immersed in the visual spectacle that then unfolded.”

P. Moorhouse, ‘The Identity of Place in Bridget Riley's Art’, in Bridget Riley – The Stripe Paintings 1961-2014, exh. cat., London: David Zwirner, 2014, p. 118

Movement in Squares

synthetic emulsion on board
123.2 x 121.2 cm.; 48 1/2 x 47 3/4 in.
Collection: Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London

“With Movements in Squares, Riley first disclosed the rich expressive potential of boldly contrasting abstract shapes. That seminal painting was a persuasive exposition of the structuring principle of repose, disturbance, returning to repose. Proceeding from left to right, a regular tessellated sequence was progressively compressed and then, reaching the opposite side of the painting, returned almost to its originals. The effect was to provoke a crisis in the viewer's perception field. In an unsettling departure from convention, the painting appeared both irradiated and, structurally, to move unpredictably. Most disturbing was the growing realisation that this display was entirely subjective, a destabilisation in the chain of command connecting object, eye and, ultimately, mind.”

P. Moorhouse, in Bridget Riley: The Stripe Paintings 1961-2012, exh. cat., Berlin: Galerie Max Hetzler and Holzwarth Publications, 2013, p. 42

Pink landscape

oil on canvas
101.5 × 101.5 cm.; 40 x 40 in.
Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates, London

Pink Landscape, the best known because most reproduced of Bridget Riley's formative works, is rarely shown. Implicitly relegated to the realm of immaturity since it is based on studies made sur le motif, this small yet scintillating oil pays homage to a great Neo-Impressionist precursor as it expands his 'method' in new directions. Well versed in Seurat's practice from her close copy, made the previous year, of one of his smaller landscapes, Le pont de Courbevoie, Riley based Pink Landscape on a view over an expansive plain outside Siena, a view even more austere than the vistas Seurat customarily favoured. A lowering haze, foreshadowing the approaching storm, and rendered by means of a patchwork of small strokes ranging from succulent pinkish yellow through bluish lemon, suffuses the plain. In conjunction with the high horizon, the square format creates  an all-over field whose vertical axis is bisected by a faint zigzag which demarcates transitions in elevation from one hillock to the next. In this glowering light Riley's nominal subject is virtually de-materialised. Emblematic of the way that perception itself would become her medium, Pink Landscape stands on the threshold of an abstract optical art.”  

L. Cook, ‘Encore’, in Bridget Riley - Paintings and Drawings 1961-2004, exh. cat., Sydney: Museum of Contemporary Art, 2004, p. 101

Unless stated otherwise, images:
Courtesy of the Bridget Riley Archive

Works: © Bridget Riley 2021. All rights reserved.