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Bridget Riley

Bridget Riley (solo show)
The Chinati Foundation, Marfa
6 October 2017 - 2019

Bridget Riley, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, 1983, as wall painting, Bolt of Colour, 2017. Courtesy Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas. ©Bridget Riley. All rights reserved. Photo: Alex Marks
Bridget Riley, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, 1983, as wall painting, Bolt of Colour, 2017. Courtesy Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas. ©Bridget Riley. All rights reserved. Photo: Alex Marks

In October 2017 the Chinati Foundation will inaugurate a large new multicolored wall painting by Bridget Riley. The artwork has been conceived specifically for the museum’s special exhibition building and will encompass the entire U-shaped enclosure. The work will debut during Chinati Weekend, October 6 through 8, and remain on view through 2019.

For more than fifty years Bridget Riley has pursued a rigorous, open-ended, and self-renewing inquiry into the constituent elements of abstract painting. She established her reputation in the early and mid-1960s with visually dizzying black-and-white works and then, through a slow step-by-step process later that decade, began to explore the properties of color. Throughout her career, Riley has developed paintings through the accumulation and distribution of particular forms—vertical and horizontal stripes, circles, triangles, and rhomboids, curving bands—that move rhythmically across the surface of a painting. The works create luminous visual fields that are difficult to take in all at once and that seem to shimmer, blink, and glow in an indeterminate space between the viewer and the actual surface of the painting. Over the course of her career, Riley’s explorations of the possibilities of a given template of shapes and colors have prompted further investigations, and she often returns to forms she has used earlier in order to test them in new contexts.

Riley’s first wall painting was made in response to a 1979 invitation from the Royal Liverpool Hospital to conceive a work for its walls. Riley devised a visual scheme featuring horizontal ribbons of color, running the lengths of the hospital corridors. The palette, like that of her paintings at the time, was inspired by a 1980 trip to the pyramids and tomb paintings of ancient Egypt. Of this color scheme Riley later wrote: “The Ancient Egyptians had a fixed palette. They used the same colors—turquoise, blue, red, yellow, green, black and white—for over 3,000 years….In each and every usage these colors appeared different but at the same time they united the appearance of the entire culture. Perhaps even more important, the precise shades of these colors had evolved under a brilliant North African light and consequently they seemed to embody the light and even reflect it back from the walls.”

Riley completed the design for the Royal Liverpool Hospital in 1983. In the years since, she has made many more wall paintings, including a work for two floors of St. Mary’s Hospital in London in 1987, with a third floor completed in 2014. In addition to these commissions, Riley has made wall drawings for numerous museum and gallery exhibitions and collections in the U.S., the U.K., and Europe.

Riley’s wall painting for Chinati will be the artist’s largest work to date and span six of the eight walls of the building. As referenced in the work’s title, Wall Painting, Royal Liverpool Hospital 1983–2017, the mural revisits Riley’s Egyptian palette and establishes a continuity between the design for the Royal Liverpool Hospital and the new work for Chinati. It is inspired in part by similarities in size and spatial orientation in the sites of each project and affinities between the brilliant light and palette the artist witnessed in Egypt and the high desert landscape in which the Chinati Foundation is situated.

Riley draws inspiration from nature—not as a subject to be depicted but as a play of perceptions and sensations. She has written: “For me nature is not landscape, but the dynamism of visual forces—an event rather than an appearance. These forces can only be tackled by treating color and form as ultimate identities, freeing them from all descriptive or functional roles.” Riley’s paintings make plain how they were made yet induce optical effects that supersede their physical qualities, demonstrating a rapport with works in Chinati’s permanent collection by artists of her generation such as Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, and Robert Irwin. Her wall painting for Chinati will merge art and architecture and release the potentiality of color in harmony with many of the works in the museum’s collection.

The Chinati Foundation, Marfa


Additional:

Bridget Riley

Vertigo. Op Art and a History of Deception 1520–1970 (group show)
Kunstmuseum Stuttgart
23 November 2019 – 19 April 2020

Bridget Riley,
Bridget Riley, "Hesitate", 1964. Photo: © Tate, London 2019. © Bridget Riley 2019. All rights reserved

The art movement Op Art emerged around the mid-1950s. Geometric patterns, optical illusions, and light effects in diverse manifestations constituted its artistic content. Op artists worked collaboratively on a notion of "Visual research" in art. To realize new expressive forms, they tried out materials like corrugated industrial glass and black and laser light and explored the effect of moving artworks on viewers.

Works of Op Art overwhelm viewers in various ways. After all, Op Art doesn't just address our sense of sight; by manipulating perception, it provokes an experience that affects the entire body – to the point of possibly triggering a dizzying sensory overload. The show's title, "Vertigo", taken from Alfred Hitchcock's famous film of 1958, refers to this aspect.

The exhibition comprises a broad spectrum of panel paintings, reliefs, and mechanically driven objects as well as installations, experience spaces, and computer-generated art from the 1950s to around 1970. Op Art was a European movement, and thus on view are among other things works by Bridget Riley (GB), Gianni Colombo (IT), Gerhard von Graevenitz (DE), Nicolas Schöffer (HU), and Victor Vasarely (HU). The show also demonstrates that Op Art had precursors in earlier, anti-classical eras and in this sense can be referred to as the Mannerism of Concrete Art. The presentation therefore includes artworks from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries by artist such as Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Erhard Schön, and Claude Mellan, in which optical effects likewise play a role.

Kunstmuseum Stuttgart


Bridget Riley

The Corn Hall, Diss (solo show)
18 November – 29 November 2019

Bridget Riley, Movement in Squares, 1961. Collection: Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. Courtesy of the Bridget Riley Archive. © Bridget Riley 2019. All rights reserved.
Bridget Riley, Movement in Squares, 1961. Collection: Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. Courtesy of the Bridget Riley Archive. © Bridget Riley 2019. All rights reserved.

Renowned for her Op-Art paintings, Bridget Riley uses colour, line and shape, as well as remarkable precision to produce visually hypnotic effects that capture a sense of movement and dimension. This exhibition will feature the black and white screenprints from the early ‘60s that helped make Riley’s international reputation, as well as later coloured pieces.

The Corn Hall


Bridget Riley

Bridget Riley (solo show)
The Hayward Gallery, London
23 October 2019 - 26 January 2020

Installation view of Bridget Riley, Untitled (Measure for Measure Wall Painting), 2017 at Hayward Gallery 2019 © Bridget Riley 2019 Photo: Stephen White & Co.
Installation view of Bridget Riley, Untitled (Measure for Measure Wall Painting), 2017 at Hayward Gallery 2019 © Bridget Riley 2019 Photo: Stephen White & Co.

In October 2019, Hayward Gallery will host a major retrospective exhibition devoted to the work of celebrated British artist Bridget Riley.

Organised by the National Galleries of Scotland in partnership with Hayward Gallery and in close collaboration with the artist, this comprehensive exhibition will be the first large-scale survey of Riley’s work to be held in the UK for 16 years.

The exhibition will look closely at the origins of Riley’s perceptual paintings and will trace pivotal, decisive moments in her acclaimed career.

It will feature the artist’s iconic black-and-white paintings of the 1960s, early representational paintings, expansive canvases in colour and recent wall paintings, as well as studies and preparatory material.

Alongside her best known canvases, the exhibition will also include the only three-dimensional work that the artist ever realised, Continuum (1963), as well as new wall paintings made specially for Hayward Gallery.

Spanning 70 years of Riley’s work, the exhibition will offer visitors an unparalleled opportunity to experience powerful and engaging works by one of the most important artists of our time. 

The Hayward Gallery, London


Bridget Riley

Messengers (wall painting)
The National Gallery, London
From 17 January 2019

Bridget Riley with Messengers by Bridget Riley, Annenberg Court, The National Gallery © 2019 Bridget Riley. All rights reserved / Photo: The National Gallery, London
Bridget Riley with Messengers by Bridget Riley, Annenberg Court, The National Gallery © 2019 Bridget Riley. All rights reserved / Photo: The National Gallery, London

See Messengers, a new large-scale wall painting by Bridget Riley: one of the most important artists of her generation.

The title, Messengers, is inspired by a phrase Constable used when referring to clouds, and might also be an allusion to the numerous angels, bearers of news, that we see in the skies of so many National Gallery pictures.

Painted directly onto the wall of the Annenberg Court and spanning a vast 10 x 20 metres, the abstract work, comprised of coloured discs, carries influences from our historic collection over into the 21st century. Throughout art history, harmonies of colour have played a large part in pictorial composition.Taking as a point of departure the paintings of George Seurat, in particular Bathers at Asnières, Bridget Riley’s 'Messengers' transforms the Annenberg Court into a great white space in which coloured discs float as clouds drift in the lanes of the sky. By leaving after-images on the viewer's retina that suggest volume and movement the longer it is perceived, the work becomes a tribute to its artistic predecessors and to the process of looking at art itself.

Bridget Riley (born 1931) has a long-standing relationship with the Gallery; she made copies of paintings in the collection including Jan van Eyck’s Portrait of a Man (Self Portrait?), 1433, as a teenager as part of her portfolio when applying to Goldsmiths College, London, just after the end of the Second World War, and Georges Seurat's Bathers at Asnières while training as an artist.

In 1989 Riley was invited to select that year’s Artist’s Eye exhibition and between 2010 and 2011 the Gallery held her acclaimed exhibition Bridget Riley: Paintings and Related Work.

The National Gallery, London