Quintessentially Bridget Riley, her monochrome Fragment series captures the sense of movement she is able to create using only geometric forms.
The series is significant as the artworks demonstrate the height of Op Art pioneer Bridget Riley’s practice and are instantly recognisable.
Despite being static works, they appear to be in motion: zig zag lines oscillate back and forth, in some prints circles seem to jolt around, and in others swirling spirals toy with your senses and produce an unsettling feeling. These Fragment prints are exemplar of Riley’s energetic, forceful compositions and optical trickery.
Riley experiments with simple, structural units in her works, in varying configurations and colours, to explore the physical and psychological responses of the eyes.
Despite her compositions and colour combinations varying over the years, Riley’s motive has remained the same: to interrogate what and how we see things.
The first woman to win the painting prize at the Venice Biennale in 1968, Riley endures as a pioneer of contemporary British abstract painting.
Riley is greatly inspired by Georges Seurat and his colourful compositions: “his work gave me a sense of the viewer’s importance as an active participant. Perception became the medium”.
Riley has a utopian vision of the social function of art. Regarding her artistic practice as an inherently social act, Riley believes the viewer completes the experience of painting, by perceiving the artwork.
Riley attained widespread recognition during her black and white period, which occurred between 1961 and 1966.
Visually intense and hugely popular, Riley’s works from this period were frequently plagiarised and mimicked in magazine and billboard advertising, and even on clothing.
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