Bridget Riley : tricks and illusions

When you walk around an art gallery you have no idea what surprises lie around each corner, there could be celebrated works by the likes of Emin and Hirst sitting proud in the centre of the room or a collection of photographs hidden in the corner by an unknown artist. One of the rooms I entered in the Tate Modern this summer held the psychedelic paintings of Bridget Riley, whose work I’d never come across before and was all the more exciting for that reason. Her paintings pull you in with their complex forms and pleasing colours. They mesmerise your eyes: if you focus on To A Summer’s Day long enough, the waves of lines appear to move hypnotically on the 2D plane. The two paintings take up a wall each, their size showing off the captivating patterns and creating a heightened visual experience.

To A Summers Day
To A Summers Day

Riley was involved in the Op Art movement during the 1960s, where geometric shapes were used in artworks to create optical illusions. Both of these paintings here are painted after that time, yet she continues to maintain the illusionary style. To A Summer’s Day (1980) has 60s psychedelic elements yet the soft pastel colours are reminiscent of those used in prints and wallpapers from the 80s. Evoë 3 (2003) is less subtle with its bold shapes and colours, but the curving lines create consistency between the two paintings, despite them being created 20 years apart.

Evoe 3
Evoë 3

 Featured Image: Blaze (1964) from the Tate Website

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