Today's Memory

Self-Rescuing Princess Society‘s Today’s Memory

Self-Rescuing Princess Society‘s Today’s Memory

Self-Rescuing Princess Society‘s Today’s Memory

Bridget Riley’s birthday

Originally shared by Self-Rescuing Princess Society

Bridget Riley (born 24 April 1931)

Bridget Riley is an English painter who is one of the foremost exponents of Op art. She currently lives and works in London, Cornwall, and France.

During World War II she was evacuated, with her mother and sister, to a cottage in Cornwall. The cottage, not far from the sea near Padstow, was shared with an aunt who was a former student at Goldsmiths College, London. Primary education came in the form of irregular talks and lectures by non-qualified or retired teachers. She was educated at Cheltenham Ladies’ College and later studied art at Goldsmiths College (1949–52), and later at the Royal College of Art (1952–55), where her fellow students included artists Peter Blake, Geoffrey Harcourt (the retired painter, also noted for his many well known chair designs) and Frank Auerbach. In 1955 Riley graduated with a BA degree.

Her early work was figurative with a semi-impressionist style. Between 1958 and 1959 her advertising agency work saw her adopting a style of painting based on the pointillist technique. Around 1960 she began to develop her signature Op Art style consisting of black and white geometric patterns that explore the dynamism of sight and produce a disorienting effect on the eye. In the summer of 1960 she toured Italy with mentor Maurice de Sausmarez, and the two visited the Venice Biennale with its large exhibition of Futurist works.

Riley’s mature style, developed during the 1960s, was influenced by a number of sources. It was during this time that Riley began to paint the black and white works for which she is best known. They present a great variety of geometric forms that produce sensations of movement or colour. In the early 1960s, her works were said to induce sensation in viewers as varied as seasick and sky diving. From 1961 to 1964 she worked with the contrast of black and white, occasionally introducing tonal scales of grey. Works in this style comprised her first 1962 solo show at Musgrave’s Gallery One, as well as numerous subsequent shows.

Riley has been given honorary doctorates by Oxford (1993) and Cambridge (1995). In 2003, she was awarded the Praemium Imperiale, and in 1998 she became one of only 65 Companions of Honour in Britain.

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