Paul Moorhouse, Richard Shiff avec Bridget Riley: The Stripe Paintings 1961-2014
Published on the occasion of Bridget Riley’s major exhibition at David Zwirner in London in the summer of 2014, this fully illustrated catalogue offers intimate explorations of paintings and works on paper produced by the legendary British artist over the past 50 years, focusing specifically on her recurrent use of the stripe motif. Riley has devoted her practice to actively engaging viewers through elementary shapes such as lines, circles, curves and squares, creating visual experiences that at times trigger optical sensations of vibration and movement. The London show, her most extensive presentation in the city since her 2003 retrospective at Tate Britain, explored the stunning visual variety she has managed to achieve working exclusively with stripes, manipulating the surfaces of her vibrant canvases through subtle changes in hue, weight, rhythm and density. As noted by Paul Moorhouse, ‘Throughout her development, Riley has drawn confirmation from Eugène Delacroix’s observation that “the first merit of a painting is to be a feast for the eyes.” [Her] most recent stripe paintings are a striking reaffirmation of that principle, exciting and entrancing the eye in equal measure.’ Created in close collaboration with the artist, the publication’s beautifully produced colour plates offer a selection of the iconic works from the exhibition. These include the artist’s first stripe works in color from the 1960s, a series of vertical compositions from the 1980s that demonstrate her so-called ‘Egyptian’ palette – a ‘narrow chromatic range that recalled natural phenomena’ – and an array of her modestly scaled studies, executed with gouache on graph paper and rarely before seen. A range of texts about Riley’s original and enduring practice grounds and contextualizes the images, while little-seen archival imagery shows Riley at work over the years.
Riley, still probably best known for the severe black-and-white Op art that made her famous in the 1960s, began to work in color in 1967. Lush and subtler than her earlier work, the stripe paintings in this volume are meticulously printed by Studio Fasoli, Verona, on heavy, supple stock. Two three-sheet gatefolds reproduce double-panel paintings, and a brief selection of works on paper, mainly studies, offers evidence of her hand, as do several actual-size details.--Christopher Lyon "Bookforum "