Bridget Riley Untitled Blue Schubert Screenprint in colours 1978

Waves Bridget Riley

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Executed in the 1970s and 1980s, Bridget Riley’s Waves series generate undulating fields of colour and movement. Fizzing with optical effervescence, the lines appear to ripple. The line of each wave employs several colours at regular intervals, the chosen colour lasting for one-and-a-half wave lengths, with each colour starting and ending at every peak or trough. The individual components of the canvases are not registered by the viewer. Instead, the work is viewed as a whole ‘field’ in which the resulting visual effect is created by an awareness of all the varying parts of the painting at the same time.

Riley consciously selected mixed hues, rather than pure colours, in the Waves series, in order to maximise the interaction between the lines and tones in the eye of the viewer. Riley credits her fervent interest in colour to the Italian Futurists and French masters, such as Henri Matisse and Georges Seurat. Pointillism and Divisionism also underpin Riley’s practice, both Modern art movements relying on the capacity of the eye to blend colours placed side by side, obtaining a fuller range of tones.

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