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Bridget Riley

Born 1931, London.

Bridget Riley spent her childhood in Cornwall and Lincolnshire and went to Cheltenham Ladies College.  From 1949-52 she studied at Goldsmith's College in London, and the Royal College of Art from 1952-55, when she exhibited with the Young Contemporaries.  She worked briefly for the advertising agency J Walter Thompson in 1959 and then taught at Loughborough, Hornsey and Croydon Schools of Art.  She was included in the New Generation exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1964.

From 1965 she began to experiment with colour in the hard-edged manner of Kenneth Noland or Gene Davis.  These experiments were the subject of an Arts Council touring exhibition Working with Colour in 1984 In 1983 she was commissioned to design the sets and costumes for Ballet Rambert's Colour Moves.  Riley is perhaps the purest adherent of Op Art, the art form which explores optical phenomena.  In 1949 Josef Albers, followed by Victor Vasarely, had begun to experiment with the possibilities of creating optical effects by the use of colour and form in a systematic way.  The effect on the observer of expanding and contracting, advancing and receding pattern is often a physical sensation akin to seasickness, known as kinaesthesia.

Bridget Riley had a major exhibition at Tate Britain in 2003 and a smaller exhibition was toured by the South Bank Centre in 2002.

Untitled (Winged Curve)
Nineteen Greys
Hanover I