Bridget Riley Biography

British Op Art painter Bridget Riley with some of her works.
British Op Art painter Bridget Riley with some of her works. Romano Cagnoni/Getty Images

Bridget Riley began working in the Op Art movement far before it was named as an official artistic movement. Still, she is best known for her black and white works from the 1960s that helped inspire the new style of contemporary art.

It is said that her art was created to make a statement about "absolutes." It is coincidental that they are viewed as optical illusions.

Early Life

Riley was born on April 24, 1931 in London.

Her father and grandfather were both printmakers, so art was in her blood. She studied at Cheltenham Ladies' College and later art at Goldsmiths College and the Royal College of Art in London.

Artistic Style

After her early, extensive artistic training, Bridget Riley spent several years casting about for her path. While working as an art teacher, she began exploring the interplay of shape, lines, and light, boiling these elements down to black and white (initially) in order to fully understand them.

In 1960, she began working in her signature style -- what many refer to today as Op Art, in that the display of the geometric patterns trick the eye and produces movement and color.

In the decades since, she has experimented with different mediums (and color, which can be seen in works like Shadow Play (1990) mastered the art of printmaking, moved through differently shaped themes and introduced color to her paintings.

Her meticulous, methodical discipline is phenomenal.

Important Works

  • Movement in Squares, 1961
  • Fall, 1963
  • Dominance Portfolio (Red, Blue and Green) (series), 1977
  • Ra2, 1981
  • Conversation, 1993
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Esaak, Shelley. "Bridget Riley Biography." ThoughtCo, Oct. 21, 2017, thoughtco.com/bridget-riley-biography-182647. Esaak, Shelley. (2017, October 21). Bridget Riley Biography. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/bridget-riley-biography-182647 Esaak, Shelley. "Bridget Riley Biography." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/bridget-riley-biography-182647 (accessed December 17, 2017).