Bridget Louise Riley CH CBE is an English painter known for her op art paintings. She lives and works in London, Cornwall and the Vaucluse in France.
Early life and education
Riley was born on 24 April 1931 in Norwood, London. Her father, John Fisher Riley, originally from Yorkshire, had been an Army officer. He was a printer by trade and owned his own business. In 1938, he relocated the printing business, together with his family, to Lincolnshire. At the beginning of World War II, her father, a member of the Territorial Army, was mobilised, and Riley, together with her mother and sister Sally, moved to a cottage in Cornwall. The cottage, not far from the sea near Padstow, was shared with an aunt who was a former student at Goldsmiths' College, London.
Riley attended Cheltenham Ladies' College from 1946 to 1948 and Loughborough University from 1949 to 1952. She studied art at Goldsmiths' College (1949–52; now part of the University of London) and the Royal College of Art (1952–55; B.A.). Until 1960 she painted primarily impressionistic landscapes and figures.
In 1960 Riley began experimenting with optical patterns, which she created by using a variety of techniques, including painting with parallel stripes, concentric circles, and wavy lines. These patterns produced a disorienting effect on the viewer, as the eye struggled to make sense of the conflicting visual information. Riley's early op art paintings were exhibited in London and New York, and she quickly became one of the most well-known artists in the movement.
In the 1970s, Riley began to experiment with other forms of art, including sculpture and printmaking. She also began to travel extensively, visiting countries such as India, Japan, and China. These travels had a profound impact on her work, as she began to incorporate elements of traditional art from other cultures into her paintings.
Riley's work has been exhibited in major museums and galleries around the world, and she has received numerous awards, including the Sikkens Prize, the Goslar Kaiserring, and the Praemium Imperiale. She is a member of the Royal Academy of Arts and the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
Riley is considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century. Her work has been praised for its innovative use of color and pattern, and for its ability to evoke a sense of movement and dynamism. Riley's paintings have also been praised for their ability to create a disorienting effect on the viewer, as the eye struggles to make sense of the conflicting visual information.
Riley's work has had a profound impact on the development of op art, and her paintings have been widely influential on other artists. Her work has also been used in advertising and design, and her paintings have been featured in films and television shows.
Riley is a living legend, and her work continues to be admired and studied by artists and art lovers around the world.
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