'No painter, dead or alive, has ever made us more aware of our eyes than Bridget Riley.'
( Robert Melville, The New Statesman, 1970 ) *
To coincide with Bridget Riley's major retrospective at Tate Britain in London this summer, the Green On Red Gallery will open an exhibition of Riley's work in Dublin beginning the 27th of June. The Gallery will exhibit and have for sale a broad range of this iconic artist's work which spans her career from the 1970's to 2003 and includes painting, prints**, gouaches and fine studies. This exhibition will run for two months.
Riley's work has not been seen in Ireland since her last solo exhibition in the Green On Red Gallery in 1997. Since that time she has had landmark exhibitions in Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal; The Serpentine Gallery, London; The Dia Centre for the Arts, New York; The Kunsthalle, Berne; The Kunstverein, Dusseldorf; Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld and now, in Tate Britain, London.
Riley is one of the original inventors of Op Art***. In the 1960's she painted what are the now famous dizzying black and white, geometric paintings. Since then she has engaged in a highly logical and systematic progression of thought and experimentation using variations on the use of line and colour and colour-as -form like no-one before her…except, that is, when echoes of some of the great masters of European art [and art historical movements] resound in her practice. Most recently and perhaps most obviously, Matisse's cut-outs are beautifully evoked in the combination of crisp curved shapes and clear Mediterranean colours in works like Echo (1998) and Evoë (2000). Her admiration for Egyptian art and design is evident in works like Ra (1981) and Blue Quiver (1983). Forty years on, in her large new mural paintings Riley has dramatically returned to the 'circle motifs' where comparisons with Islamic art and design are, perhaps, apt.
In all instances, Bridget Riley continues to dazzle. She produces highly complex and resolved paintings in a masterful display of richly interwoven lozenge, arc, swerving half-moon and other invented shapes. The result is increasingly harmonic compositions that shift, shimmer and dance as you view them.
A feature of Riley's current paintings is without doubt the fact that even in the first moment of one's looking each has its own 'key', which is utterly non-conceptual. And ultimately the dual resonance of her most recent works ( a term which applies equally to colours and sounds ) encourages the viewer to respond to their musicality.
(" Bridget Riley and the performance of colour, " : Martin Hentschel in Bridget Riley New Work : Krefelder Kunstmuseen, Krefeld, 2002 )
* The Melville quote appears in the Tate Britain press release for Bridget Riley's exhibition.
** See : Bridget Riley Complete Prints 1962 - 2001; Ridinghouse and The Hayward Gallery, London, 2002.
*** This term was first used in MoMA, New York, 1965 to describe geometric abstract art which exploits perceptual ambiguity and marginal optical devices to create the appearance of vibrating, pulsating, shivering, hallucinatory movement.