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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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Messengers by Bridget Riley at the National Gallery

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

Since January 2019, a new large-scale wall painting by the British abstract artist Bridget Riley has been on display at the National Gallery. The painting spans 10 x 20 metres and consists of a combination of coloured discs painted directly onto the surface of the Gallery’s Annenberg Court.

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

The title of the work, Messengers, is inspired by a phrase of the landscape painter, John Constable, referring to clouds in the sky.

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

Bridget Riley is considered one of the most important artists of her generation and has long associations with the National Gallery. Riley studied at Goldsmiths’ College from 1949 to 1952, and at the Royal College of Art from 1952 to 1955. In the 1960s she developed a style called ‘Op-art’ which explored different aspects of optical phenomena in paintings.

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

She has had solo exhibitions all around the world and represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1968. The National Gallery staged her exhibition Bridget Riley: Paintings and Related Work in 2010.

For more information, visit the National Gallery website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

 

Exhibition Review – New Acquisitions: Gozzoli to Kara Walker at the British Museum from 4 October 2018 to 27 January 2019

The British Museum presents a new exhibition which displays some of the most important prints and drawings the Museum has acquired over the past 5 years.

These include rare artworks from its collection by some of the world’s most famous artists, including David Hockney, Bridget Riley, Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Jeremy Deller, Raphael, Edgar Degas and Phyllida Barlow.

In the exhibition is around 150 artworks which are a selection from the 3000 graphic works that the British Museum has added into its prints and drawings collection since 2013. These works highlights spans six centuries with the oldest work on show is by the Renaissance master Benozzo Gozzoli from around 1460, and the newest is Kara Walker’s 2017 monumental print Resurrection Story with Patrons, which depicts a giant statue of a black woman being erected.

Highlights of the exhibition are the British Museum’s first ever drawing by Andy Warhol, which depicts a study of a theatre set he designed in New York in 1959.

The exhibition will also show the Museum’s first ever work by Phyllida Barlow, which is a study for one of the sculptures in her British pavilion installation at the 2017 Venice Biennale.

Visitors will also be able to see five prints from one of Pablo Picasso’s greatest-ever graphic works. Suite 347 is a series of 347 etchings made in 1968 which show the remakable invention and ingenuity of the octogenarian artist.

The British Museum is the only UK museum to have a complete set, they are seen alongside a Picasso linocut and aquatint.

Many of the works, including those by Bridget Riley and Georg Baselitz, have been donated by the artists themselves or their families and estates,

This fascinating free exhibition provides an eclectic mixture of old and new classics which will delight visitors before the works are stored away or used for later exhibitions.

Visiting London Guide Rating –  Highly Recommended

For more information, visit the British Museum website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
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Exhibition Review – Monochrome: Painting in Black and White at the National Gallery from 30th October 2017 to 18th February 2018

The National Gallery presents a world of dark and light in its exhibition entitled Monochrome: Painting in Black and White. The exhibition explores how artists have used the power of black and white with more than fifty painted objects created over 700 years.

Paintings and drawings by Old Masters such as Jan van Eyck, Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres appear alongside works by contemporary artists including Gerhard Richter, Chuck Close and Bridget Riley.

The exhibition takes visitors through five rooms which explore how artists have used painting in black, white and grey, also known as grisaille for a variety of reasons.

The earliest surviving works of Western art made in grisaille were created in the Middle Ages, often for devotional purposes. For many religious orders, simplicity and austerity was favoured and paintings in black and white took on a profound spiritual element. The first room is dominated by the large Agony in the Garden painted in 1538.

For centuries, artists have made drawings in black and white to find ways of how light and shade worked in particular compositions before committing to a full colour painting. From the Middle Ages, paintings in grisaille began to be produced as independent works of art. Generally these type of paintings were prized for the skill of the artist and their use as devotional pieces. The exhibition shows one of the most outstanding examples of grisaille oil painting with Jan van Eyck’s Annunciation Diptych (1433-35) . The Figures painted in white tones on black backgrounds resemble sculptures standing within stone niches. Other highlights in this section include works by Pablo Picasso, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Alberto Giacometti and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Other artists produced paintings that provided decorative 3D illusions that took on the appearance of stone sculpture. Jacob de Wit excelled at this type of painting and his Jupiter and Ganymede (1739, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull) could easily be mistaken for a three-dimensional wall relief.

During the 15th and 16th centuries, painters began to respond to the new developments in printmaking with works that looked like a print but was actually a painting. The exhibition shows one of the finest examples of this type of painting with the exceptionally rare grisaille work by Hendrik Goltzius, Without Ceres and Bacchus, Venus Would Freeze (1606) .

The invention of photography in the 19th century led to painters imitating some of the qualities of the media. Gerhard Richter employed a press photograph of a prostitute who had been brutally murdered as the foundation of his painting Helga Matura with Her Fiancé (1966).

Perhaps the purest form of Black and White paintings has been undertaken by Abstract and Installation artists. In 1916, Russian artist Kazimir Malevich took this to its ultimate with his revolutionary work, Black Square (1929) . A black square floating within a white-painted frame was declared  to be a new kind of non-representational art. Other artists in the exhibition who have been attracted to this type of abstraction include Josef Albers, Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella, Cy Twombly and Bridget Riley.

At the end of the exhibition, Olafur Eliasson’s large-scale, immersive light installation, Room for one colour (1997) suppresses all other light frequencies and allows visitors to enter a monochrome world.

This unusual and interesting exhibition offers the opportunity to explore an artistic world full of black, white and grey. The works on display illustrate the great strength of working with a limited palette enabling artists to experiment with the various forms, textures, light and shade. This explains why many artists create black and white drawings before committing to a full colour painting. Perhaps more surprising is that religious orders from the Middle Ages onwards saw the lack of colour as somehow more sacred. However it is probably within Abstraction that Black and White find its purest expression.

Video Review available here

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information, visit the National Gallery website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here