Bridget Riley : ‘Circles, Colour, Structure’ (Studies 1970/71)

Oval Axis: Cerise, Turquoise, Ochre
Gouache and pencil on paper
30.5 x 66 cm

Gouache on graph paper
29.8 x 50.8 cm

Closed Discs: Turquoise, Cerise, Ochre
Gouache and pencil on paper
66 x 53.3 cm

Series 12: CTO, Closed Discs
Gouache on graph paper
33.7 x 53.3 cm

Light Red, Blue, Green: Dispersal Study
Gouache and pencil on paper
75.6 x 57.8 cm

Scale Study: Ochre, Cerise and Turquoise in Closed Discs
Gouache and pencil on graph paper
71.1 x 104.1 cm

The artist challenges the viewer in visual experiments that are equally subtle and provocative. The exhibition The Responsive Eye in 1965 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, appointed Bridget Riley as one of the leading artists, who works with geometrical forms and colour elements. Through optical calculation and with regularities of lines, surfaces, and color combinations, she develops optical illusions in which she investigates sight. As in Cézanne’s and Seurat’s paintings, the pictorial space serves for natural scientific studies. Riley examines the perception of nature by means of color and forms.

Regarding this series Circles Colour Structure Studies 1970/71, in an interview with Robert Kudielka in 1972, Riley stated the following:

The studies I make have different purposes. At the beginning I try to be as unselective as possible – to allow things to happen, later gradually tightening up until all aspects have been drawn together.

I proceed by trial and error – exploring and slowly establishing a particular situation. Obviously many studies will be discarded en route to a painting, though they may still be interesting as visual statements.

(…) the studies deal with aspects, the painting with totality. The studies are flexible and malleable, whereas the paintings are decisive and finite.

(…) I have always tried to avoid « colouring forms ». I want to create a colour-form, not coloured forms. It is very important that each form finally relinquishes its separateness in the whole. It must be fully absorbed. So while it is necessary in the early stages to analyse each unit, my aim is to enable it to release sufficient energy to precipitate its dissolution in totality.

(…) I don’t paint light. I present a colour situation which releases light as you look at it.

Bridget Riley : Max Hetzler Gallery

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