Biography of Bridget Riley
Recognized for her ingenious development of Op Art, Bridget Riley is one of Britain’s most important modern masters. Born in Norwood, South London in 1931, Riley spent her childhood moving around the UK. The artist’s memories from the places in which she lived were to have a big impact on her visual awareness throughout her life, as she recalls spending time watching the changing light, colors and cloud formations of each place. In 1949 Riley moved to London to study at Goldsmiths College of Art and then the Royal College of Art.
The works dating from Bridget Riley’s student days consist of figurative pieces in a semi-impressionist style. It was not until she began teaching at Hornsey College of Art that she developed her iconic and meticulous style known as Op Art. In pursuit of her fascination for the power of optical illusions, Riley began creating works that caused a disorientating physical effect on the viewer’s eye. Her earlier Op Art pieces are mainly black and white, with occasional hues of grey, but after travelling extensively during the 1970s and 80s she began introducing color into her work, developing palettes that reflected the landscapes of her travels. In the 80s Riley introduced diagonal forms in her work, as a means of enlivening the vertical lines that had characterized her earlier artworks.
Bridget Riley is one of the most celebrated living British artists, and has been the subject of many prizes and exhibitions throughout her career. In 1968 she won an International Painting Prize at the Venice Biennale. She has participated in group shows and has had solo shows dedicated to her across several important art institutions such as the Whitechapel Gallery, The Hayward Gallery and the Tate Modern all in London, as well as the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Today, alongside her numerous assistants the 85-year-old continues to work on limited editions prints in London, Cornwall and the Vaucluse in France.