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Past into Present, paintings by Bridget Riley

3rd June 2021 - 2nd October 2021
David Zwirner Gallery
24 Grafton Street, London.

David Zwirner is pleased to present Past into Present, paintings by Bridget Riley, in the gallery’s Grafton Street location in London. The exhibition principally features work by Riley from the last two years, with reference to the work of the past, both in her own practice and in the art of painting itself.

Over the course of her more than six-decade career, Riley has frequently returned to earlier ideas and even to specific works in order to identify alternative directions that a form could take. As she has noted, ‘I am sometimes asked “What is your objective” and this I cannot truthfully answer. I work “from” something rather than “towards” something. It is a process of discovery.’

The exhibition includes an extension of the Measure for Measure series of paintings, advanced first through the addition of a fourth colour—turquoise—and then through a deepening of tone in the new Measure for Measure Dark paintings. These developments enrich the viewer’s enjoyment, giving them something more to look at.

Since the gallery’s exhibition of Measure for Measure paintings in 2018, the large wall painting Messengers (2019) has been installed in the Annenberg Court at The National Gallery, London, using the palette of the same three colours—off-orange, off-blue, and off-green.

Also included are Riley’s new Intervals paintings, which have only been seen in London at Frieze before COVID struck, and are her most recent engagement with sustained inquiry within a self-determined set of formal parameters. As Éric de Chassey notes, ‘In the Intervals, as in the Measure for Measure paintings, the conflicts and contradictions are subtle—or non-assertive—but they clearly are fundamental to the kind of harmony that Riley strives for and achieves in each picture.’2 The Intervals paintings share the three colours of the Vapour paintings and the Measure for Measure series.

A new wall painting related to the Intervals series is being unveiled in September 2021 as a part of the exhibition. Though she has completed site-specific murals, beginning in 1983 with her work for the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, the development of Riley’s body of wall paintings, initiated in 2007 with Arcadia 1, underscores perception itself as her enduring subject. Painting directly on the wall, Riley collapses the distinction between figure, ground, and support, thus activating the picture plane in a different way than her works on canvas. Here, Riley has introduced a further permutation on her Intervals, expanding the format and rotating it so that the stripes are positioned in a vertical orientation, implicating the wall itself as the framing device.

Following Riley’s visits to her retrospective exhibition at the National Galleries of Scotland and the Hayward Gallery in 2019 to 2020, she noticed how many of the visitors were looking attentively at the work on view and finding new things to discover in even the most familiar of her paintings. Riley herself had the same experience and this has prompted her to move the past into the present with two new Static paintings, first painted in 1966 following her trip to Mont Ventoux in the South of France, and being almost blinded by the brightness and shimmer of the white stone shale in the sunlight.

Black to White Discs, Riley’s second abstract painting in 1962, and its small study are also shown. In this painting, she deliberately worked to ‘slow down’ the movement of the eye by enlarging the scale of the units used and consequently the painting itself. This was a direct response to her first comparatively smaller painting Movement in Squares (1961).

On the occasion of the exhibition, a monograph is forthcoming from David Zwirner Books, featuring new scholarship by art historian Éric de Chassey.

Riley has worked with David Zwirner since 2014. This is her fifth solo exhibition with the gallery.

Bridget Riley

23rd October 2019 - 26th January 2020
Hayward Gallery
Southbank Centre, London.

Hayward Gallery presents a major retrospective exhibition devoted to the work of celebrated British artist Bridget Riley. Developed in close collaboration with the artist herself – and in partnership with National Galleries of Scotland – it is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of her work to date.

Tracing both the origins and the evolving nature of Riley’s innovative practice, the exhibition brings together the artist’s iconic black-and-white paintings of the 1960s, expansive canvases in colour, early figurative works and recent wall paintings.

Alongside Riley’s best known canvases, the exhibition will also include rarely-seen drawings, studies and preparatory materials that offer an insight into the artist’s working methods from 1947 to the present day, as well as Continuum (1963/2005), the only three-dimensional work that the artist ever realised.

Spanning 70 years of Riley’s work, this exhibition offers visitors an unparalleled opportunity to experience powerful and engaging works by one of the most important artists of our time.

Bridget Riley: Prints 1962 - 2019.

Opens 17th August 2019
Museum Kulturspeicher
Werzburg, Germany.

An exhibition of prints spanning the period 1962 - 2019, curated by Suzanne Kudielka, is showing at the Museum im Kulturspeicher from the 17th August to the 13th October 2019.

Museum im Kulturspeicher, Oskar-Laredo-Platz 1, 97080 Werzburg, Germany.

More information about the museum and their opening hours is available from Museum im Kulturspeicher

'Messengers' by Bridget Riley: A new work at the National Gallery

Opens 17 January 2019
Annenberg Court
Admission free

A new large-scale wall painting by the British abstract artist Bridget Riley will go on display at the National Gallery in January 2019. Spanning 10 x 20 metres, the combination of coloured discs will be painted directly onto the surface of the Gallery’s Annenberg Court.

The title of the work, 'Messengers', is inspired by a phrase of the landscape painter, John Constable, referring to clouds in the sky, but might also be seen as an allusion to the numerous angels, harbingers of news, that populate the skies of so many National Gallery pictures.

A groundbreaking influence on the development and appreciation of contemporary art, Riley (born 1931) is one of the most important artists of her generation and has long associations with the National Gallery. As a teenager she copied Jan van Eyck’s Portrait of a Man (Self Portrait?) (1433) as part of her portfolio when applying to Goldsmiths College, London, just after the end of the Second World War. The luminosity of Seurat’s great painting Bathers at Asnières (1884) in the Gallery’s collection became an object of pilgrimage throughout her student years.

From 1981 to 1988 Bridget Riley served as a Trustee of the National Gallery and after leaving continued to support the campaign to retain free entrance. In 1989 Riley was invited to select that year’s 'Artist’s Eye' exhibition and between 2010 and 2011 the Gallery staged her acclaimed exhibition 'Bridget Riley: Paintings and Related Work'.

Bridget Riley says: “I was delighted to be asked by the Director, Gabriele Finaldi, to make this wall painting for the National Gallery in the Annenberg Court. I have been an assiduous visitor since childhood and I have the profoundest affection for the Gallery. It has been a guiding star for me, its pictures like a compass, sources of instruction and inspiration.”

Photo: Bridget Riley. Image courtesy of the Bridget Riley Archive

BRIDGET RILEY at the National Galleries of Scotland

15th June to 22nd September 2019
Royal Scottish Academy, The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL
Telephone 0131 624 6200 | nationalgalleries.org
Admission tbc

Bridget Riley will be the first major survey of Riley’s work to be held in the UK for 16 years, and the first of its scale to be staged in Scotland. Organised by the NGS in close collaboration with the artist herself, and presented in partnership with Hayward Gallery, London, the exhibition will be shown first in Edinburgh, in the Royal Scottish Academy, from June to September 2019, before travelling to Hayward Gallery in London, where it will be shown from October 2019 until January 2020.

The exhibition will place particular emphasis on the origins of Riley’s work, and will trace pivotal, decisive moments in her acclaimed career. It will feature early paintings and drawings, iconic black-and-white paintings of the 1960s, expansive canvases in colour, wall paintings and recent works, as well as studies that reveal Riley’s working methods.

The exhibition will bring together some 50 major paintings from public and private collections around the world, as well as a large number of works on paper, including a selection of works from Riley’s student years and childhood, many of which are being shown for the first time.

Speaking about the exhibition, Simon Groom, Director of Modern and Contemporary Art at the NGS, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be bringing together so many major paintings from across Riley’s long and distinguished career to show the radical development and constant creative evolution of work by an artist who has been at the forefront of the international avant-garde since the early 1960s. In pioneering such a distinctive body of work, Riley has expanded the possibilities for painting, as she has profoundly changed the way we think about – and look at – art.”

Pictured: Blaze I, 1962 © Bridget Riley, Private collection, on long-term loan to the National Galleries of Scotland.

Bridget Riley: The Complete Paintings

Robert Kudielka with Alexandra Tommasini and Natalia Naish

Compiled with the input of the artist herself, the landmark publication Bridget Riley: The Complete Paintings brings together over 650 of Riley’s works made on canvas, board, and the wall, as well as major large-scale commissions from the late 1940s to 2017.This ambitious and important publication reveals Riley’s achievement in all its richness and rigour, surveyable in five extensive volumes containing over 850 high quality illustrations. Rarely seen works – including those in private collections – are now presented alongside more familiar works, providing an unprecedented view of the artist’s monumental body of work.

Edited by Robert Kudielka, Alexandra Tommasini and Natalia Naish, and benefitting from the remarkable guidance of the artist, the publication offers the first comprehensive overview of the artist’s oeuvre to date, and includes many previously unpublished works. The first four volumes trace the development of Riley’s work between 1959 and 2017 and are followed by a final volume that presents a special selection of early works. Each painting entry is illustrated with high quality reproductions, many of which have been newly commissioned, or sourced from the artist’s rarely published archive. Notes on select works written in close consultation with the artist, an introductory text, an essay on studios, materials and methods, and an illustrated biography provide illuminating supporting material, whilst an engaging collection of photographs reveal Riley’s working life.

Elegantly designed, each clothbound hardcover volume is printed in one of five colours based on the artist’s early Egyptian Stripe paintings of the 1980s and the iconic 1961 painting Kiss is reproduced on the slipcase.

Bridget Riley: The Complete Paintings is available online through Thames & Hudson.
ISBN: 978-0500970898
5 volumes, slipcased
Editors: Robert Kudielka with Alexandra Tommasini and Natalia Naish
Pages: 1,848
Dimensions: 330 × 254mm
Imprint: The Bridget Riley Art Foundation and Thames & Hudson Ltd

Artists in the City: SPACE in ’68 and beyond

Anna Harding

The unique contribution made by SPACE to the city is that artist founders Bridget Riley and Peter Sedgley negotiated vast amounts of space for creativity through legitimate means. They persuaded authorities and landlords to lease them property to which the artists brought new life and creative uses. Many have subsequently benefitted from the example set.

This timely book celebrates the contribution of this artist-run initiative to London. The focus is on 1968-75, when SPACE and its sister organisation AIR came into fruition, a period which has much influence for artists and policy today. The story of SPACE is relevant to artists in cities across the world who face challenges of working in ever-more expensive and congested cities.

Essays by artists Bridget Riley and Peter Sedgley, plus Mel Dodd, Will Fowler, Larne Abse Gogarty, Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt, Robert Kudielka, Courtney J. Martin, Alicia Miller, David Morris, Neil Mulholland, Naomi Pearce, Ana Torok and Andrew Wilson.

Artists in the City was published by SPACE and supported by The Bridget Riley Art Foundation, Cockayne, and The London Community Foundation. The publication is available for purchase from SPACE.
ISBN: 978-1-9999278-0-6
Softcover book
Authors: Mel Dodd, Will Fowler, Larne Abse Gogarty, Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt, Robert Kudielka, Courtney J. Martin, Alicia Miller, David Morris, Neil Mulholland, Naomi Pearce, Bridget Riley, Peter Sedgley, Ana Torok and Andrew Wilson
Editor: Anna Harding
Pages: 288
Dimensions: 230 × 168mm
Imprint: SPACE

Bridget Riley: Cosmos

Jenny Harper, Richard Shiff, Paul Moorhouse, Eric de Chassey and Bridget Riley

Bridget Riley: Cosmos was published alongside an exhibition of the same name held at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, New Zealand. The exhibition summarised some sixty years of committed practice by Riley, from a 1959 copy of Georges Seurat’s The Bridge at Courbevoie to her 2017 wall painting Cosmos, which was the fourth of five major works acquired by the gallery to mark their extended period of closure following the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010–11.

Bridget Riley: Cosmos is available for purchase from Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu.
ISBN: 978-1-9998539-0-7
Softcover book
Authors: Jenny Harper, Richard Shiff, Paul Moorhouse, Eric de Chassey and Bridget Riley
Features: French flaps
Pages: 120
Dimensions: 210 × 210mm
Imprint: The Bridget Riley Art Foundation

'Dance' at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague

In October 2016, Bridget Riley and the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague unveiled a new work, 'Dance', which will be a permanent feature of the museum's reception area. Museum Director Benno Tempel said of the work that "We are enormously proud that Bridget Riley accepted this commission - a top international artist whose work is closely related to Mondrian's - and with such spectacular result! It's a dream come true." (www.artlyst.com)

The work took three years to complete and continues a tradition of artists, including Sol LeWitt and Niele Toroni, creating new work specifically for the Gemeentemuseum.

'Sonnet' is a work on paper that complements 'Dance' and is available in a limited number. More information.

Photo credit: Dance, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, 2016. Photo Studio Gerrit Schreurs.

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