Drawn from seven decades as a practising artist, this is Bridget Riley’s third solo exhibition at The Hayward (1971, 1992 and to date until 26 January 2020). In this exhibition simply entitled Bridget Riley, it is a delight is to come upon Riley’s early works and to realise the progression of her career, her influences and her strategies. Bridget Riley is now eighty-eight and her legacy is extensive. Exhibited in the spacious rooms are figurative paintings from Cheltenham Ladies’ College school days, homages to the Impressionist George Seurat’s dot paintings whilst studying at The Royal College of Art in the fifties and also canvasses from her first exhibition at The Hayward in the 1970s.
Images Clockwise from top left:
Pink Landscape 1960; High Sky, 1991; 2012; Pause, 1964; Ra, 1981; Copy after ‘Le Pont de Courbevoie’ by Georges Seurat, 1959; Painting with Verticals 3, 2006
At first the vast canvasses of bright stripes, diagonal shapes and black and white dots for which Bridget Riley is most known, are exhilarating and entrancing in their very size, detail and precision. They are psychedelic and dizzying. The contrast to the soft hues of grey concrete for which the Hayward building is renowned, is serendipity, as if both architecture and art were designed simply for the other. Creating these monolithic works of art have involved a task force of assistants in the same vein as a Renaissance master, or Andy Warhol’s factory.
Bridget Riley exhibition is a comprehensive trajectory of one of Britain’s great contemporary artists. Ever since her first exhibition at the Hayward and the award of the International Prize for Painting at the XXXIV Venice Biennale in 1968, it is no wonder Riley’s trajectory has been meteoric - a rise from which she has never fallen.
Bridget Riley ends 26 January 2020
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX