Messengers (wall painting)
The National Gallery, London
From 17 January 2019
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
Bridget Riley et al.
Stories of Abstraction: Contemporary Latin American Art in the Global Context (group show)
Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix
1 October 2020 – 31 January 2021
Stories of Abstraction: Contemporary Latin American Art in the Global Context presents rarely seen artworks by some of Latin America’s most innovative contemporary artists to uncover how abstraction can be used to generate new narratives, insightful social commentary, and even political change.
The exhibition includes contemporary Latin American artworks from Venezuela, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Honduras, and Guatemala by 25 of the most innovative artists working in Latin America in recent years and today, including seven women artists. These works were recently gifted to Phoenix Art Museum by Nicholas Pardon, cofounder of the former SPACE Collection—the largest collection of post-1990s abstract Latin American art in the United States.
To historically contextualize these contemporary Latin American works, Stories of Abstraction incorporates those by artists of an earlier generation from the United States, the Americas, and Europe, such as Alexander Calder, Pedro Friedeberg, Agnes Martin, Carlos Mérida, Hélio Oiticica, Frank Stella, Bridget Riley, and Jesús Rafael Soto, to highlight their influence on post-1990 Latin American abstractionists and to underscore that abstraction in Latin America didn’t develop independently; rather its genesis is inextricably tied to the region’s history of colonialism. The exhibition’s artworks by contemporary U.S. artists working in abstraction, including those based in Phoenix, further address how abstraction continues to develop and unfold in a global context.
Phoenix Art Museum
Bridget Riley et al.
Living with art. Picasso to Celmins (group show)
Spanning almost one hundred years of modern art, this exhibition will showcase highlights from the wide-ranging collection of Alexander Walker (1930–2003), longstanding film critic for London's Evening Standard newspaper and prolific collector of modern and contemporary prints and drawings.
In life, Walker surrounded himself with works from his collection in all rooms of his Maida Vale flat including his kitchen and bathroom.
He bought works of art for pleasure rather than financial gain and generously left his collection of over 200 works on paper to the British Museum when he died. This is the first exhibition in over 10 years to showcase the art through the lens of his collection. The exhibition will include 30 prints and drawings by artists ranging from Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse to Lucian Freud, Bridget Riley, David Hockney and Vija Celmins. It will demonstrate Walker's interest in artists' working methods and in transitional pieces that show an artist developing a new style or subject, or experimenting with a new technique.
The exhibition aims to trace the development of 20th-century art in Europe and America through key pieces in Walker's collection, which he viewed as a record of his own art-historical education. It will also demonstrate Walker's own tastes from the figurative to the abstract and consider what motivates collectors like Walker to surround themselves with art. With the support of the Dorset Foundation, the exhibition will travel to four venues from April 2020 until May 2021.
British Museum, 14 January – 5 March 2020
Danum Gallery, Library and Museum (postponed)
F. E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio, Northern Ireland, 17 October 2020 – 30 January 2021
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 20 February – 30 May 2021