Bridget Riley

Movement in Squares

Bridget Riley (b. 1931) is an English painter who is one of the foremost proponents of op art. She was born in London and studied at the Royal College of Art, where her fellow students included artists Peter Blake and Frank Auerbach. Her early work was figurative with a semi-impressionist style. Around 1960 she began to develop her signature style consisting of black and white geometric patterns that explore the dynamism of sight and produce a disorienting effect on the eye.

They present a great variety of geometric forms that produce sensations of movement or color. Visually, these works relate to many concerns of the period: a perceived need for audience participation (this relates them to the ‘Happenings,’ for which the period is famous), challenges to the notion of the mind-body duality which led some people to experiment with hallucinogenic drugs; concerns with a tension between a scientific future which might be very beneficial or might lead to a nuclear war; and fears about the loss of genuine individual experience in a Brave New World.

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