I didn’t know anything about Bridget Riley until reading last week’s Sunday Times and seeing an article on an exhibition taking place at the De Law Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea. But when investigating her on the Web I immediately came across a very well known image that I had not associated with her.
Movement in squares – Bridget Riley 1961
So I decided to visit and it was worth it. When I saw her work physically for the first time (rather than online) it showed a whole new side to it. Firstly the images changed as one walked around them. So for example, as I walked around Streak 2 the curves changed from waves to arrows.
Streak 2 – Bridget Riley 1979
In others, shapes and colours shifted, and spaces appeared to change as I moved. These features had been intimated by viewing them online but not demonstrated, and made a massive – fundamental – difference to the viewing experience.
Riley’s images are all painted freehand and some of the materials on show exhibited works that demonstrated how she prepared them on paper using pencil and then painted in acrylics or oils – and some cut-outs. When I got home and read some more about Riley it seems clear to me that as she grew older her work became more focused – see them here.
The whole experience has given me a great idea for a project and so I’ve parked the experimentation on the Body (Project 13) for the moment and want to experiment to try and find an essence – ie something fundamental – to my experience of impairment, as this is what Riley has evoked for me – the core of the subject matter. Of course in her case this is about the nature of the eye in regard of lines, shape, colour and space but for me it will about saying something of the elemental aspects of my experience.