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Bridget Riley at David Zwirner
Art

Bridget Riley at David Zwirner

The current exhibition at David Zwirner is Bridget Riley’s first show in New York since 2007. It spans 35 years of her career. Starting with her colorful Egyptian works, produced in the 1980s, inspired by her trip to Egypt in 1979, it ends with her most recent works in black and white. The art market has acknowledged her importance for years: Riley’s auction record reflects prices well into the hundreds of thousands and million dollar range.

Serenissima
Bridget Riley, ‘Serenissima’ (1982), Oil on linen, 85 3/8 x 74 5/8 inches (216.8 x 189.5 cm), Private collection. © Bridget Riley 2015. All rights reserved. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London.

Rather than feed her audience an easily digestible image, Riley examines the viewer’s interaction with the canvas. Like French artist Georges Seurat, a great inspiration to Riley, she dissects and analyses colour but in a more formal manner. Elementary forms or stripes are set within a rigorous structure, in the same way that composers create a musical score. Her studio assistants make sure that the execution of the works is flawless.

Lagoon 2
Bridget Riley, ‘Lagoon 2’ (1997), Oil on linen, 58 x 78 1/2 inches (147.3 x 199.4 cm), Private collection. © Bridget Riley 2015. All rights reserved. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London.
Red With Red 1
Bridget Riley, ‘Red With Red 1’ (2007), Oil on linen, 66 5/8 x 98 7/8 inches (169 x 251 cm), Private collection. © Bridget Riley 2015. All rights reserved. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London.

It is clear from Riley’s output that she has the discipline to go to her studio every day and work: questioning, improving and perfecting her paintings. She once said that she had to work through black and white (at the beginning of her career in the 1960’s) before even thinking about being able to work in color. Her intellectual rigor and process-driven discipline make Riley one of the most significant living artists today. An exhibition worth seeing.

Rustle 2
Bridget Riley, ‘Rustle 2’ (2015), Acrylic on APF polyester support, 73 1/4 x 77 1/4 inches (186 x 196 cm). © Bridget Riley 2015. All rights reserved. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London.

The exhibition, ‘Bridget Riley’, is on show until 19 December 2015 at David Zwirner, 525 West 19th Street, New York, NY 10011.

Currently on view at the Courtauld Institute in London is ‘Bridget Riley: Learning from Seurat’, on until 17 January 2016.

Source: ‘Black and White and Color’, Robert Kudielka, Garage Magazine, Fall/ Winter 2015.