Studio Sundays: Op-Artist Bridget Riley


bridget riley wearing an apron in her art studio. There are very large artworks in the foreground on a table. Black and white image.




Happy Studio Sunday everyone! Today we’ll take a look at the work of op-art painter Bridget Riley. Riley paints on a large scale and so her studio in East London is suitably roomy. She often creates collage maquettes of her paintings at the beginning of her process, and thus the studio space is well stocked with paper - as well as a large table surface for her to work on both these collages, and the paintings.


Riley’s most well-known paintings are something like what you’d see in opening a book of optical illusions. Patterns of repeating black and white lines, curving into circles or simply bending as they travel the length of a canvas, seem to move of their own accord even as you eye follows them. The term “op-art” reached public popularity sometime in the mid 1960’s – with Riley as one of the foremost proponents of the style. This very particular type of geometric abstraction was even taken up by fashion designers and advertisers at the time.


During the 1970’s, after spending nearly a decade painting in only black and white, Riley began experimenting with colour, becoming fascinated by the emotional and visual response created by different hues. Riley’s works today are brightly coloured, but still follow the op-art style of repeated geometric patterns that trick and amuse the eye.

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Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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