Home » Exhibitions » Exhibition Review: Bridget Riley at the Hayward Gallery from 23 October 2019 to 26 January 2020

Exhibition Review: Bridget Riley at the Hayward Gallery from 23 October 2019 to 26 January 2020

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Hayward Gallery presents a major retrospective exhibition devoted to the work of acclaimed British artist Bridget Riley, spanning 70 years of the artist’s working life. Bridget Riley at the Hayward Gallery is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of her work to date and runs from 23 October 2019 to 26 January 2020.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Bridget Riley achieved an international reputation for her pioneering works that explored the nature of abstraction and perception. In the 1960s, her iconic black-and-white paintings became associated with the emerging Op Art movement. Riley won the International Prize for Painting at the XXXIV Venice Biennale in 1968 and was the feature of a 1971 exhibition at the Hayward Gallery entitled Bridget Riley: Paintings and Drawings 1951-71. This exhibition includes over 200 works and 50 key paintings, it also features several large canvases that have seldom been seen in this country.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The exhibition starts in the Upper Galleries with ‘Beginnings’ which includes some of her early works before she moved into abstraction. Riley was influenced by the work of Bonnard, Matisse and Paul Klee and used drawing as a key component in finding out how to organise visual information.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

An illustration of how Riley decoded others work is the section called ‘Looking at Seurat’, Riley made a study of Seurat’s painting The Bridge at Courbevoie in 1959. Rather than just a reproduction, she followed Seurat’s method in relation to colour, light and contrast.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

By the beginning of the 1960s, Riley was ready to follow her own path with her Black and White series which includes Kiss, (1961), Movement in Squares, (1961) and Blaze 1, (1962). Riley seemed to have tapped into the spirit of the times and her work was acclaimed by critics and the public in the UK and internationally.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

In the mid 1960s, Riley began to move on with ‘Curves’ with Drift 2 (1966) and towards the full use of colour in Aubade, (1975), Clepsydre (1976) and Streak 2 (1979).

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Riley’s experimentation continued in the 1970s with ‘Stripes and Diagonals’, the use of colour became more complex and diagonal lines are used to break up the stripes.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Since the 1980s, Riley has experimented and refined her approach with a series of works, the unique nature of the Hayward Gallery, with its large spaces allow the installation of several key wall works (Composition with Circles 4, 2004, Rajasthan, 2012, Quiver 3, 2014).

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

One of the more unusual pieces of work is the only three-dimensional work that the artist ever realised, Continuum (1963/2005). The work allows the viewer to enter and enjoy an immersive experience.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The section called ‘Recent Developments’ explore Riley’s recent work using the disc has the primary form, the monumental wall painting Messengers has recently been installed at the National Gallery and here we have a small section of the same design and works from the Measure to Measure series.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This fascinating and entertaining exhibition provides a comprehensive study of one of Britain’s most original artists, Bridget Riley takes many of the ideas of perception and form and takes them to a different level. Many of her works are full of energy and action with a dynamic yet precise use of colour and form. Close inspection proves a challenge to the viewers who begins to question what they are actually seeing. This interaction is part of Riley’s mission to bring attention to the way that we percieve ourselves and the world around us.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and book tickets , visit the Southbank Centre website here

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