One of the most significant artists working today, Bridget Riley's dedication to the interaction of form and color has led to a continued exploration of perception. From the early 1960s, she has used elementary shapes such as lines, circles, curves, and squares to create visual experiences that actively engage the viewer, at times triggering optical sensations of vibration and movement. Her earliest black-and-white compositions offer impressions of several other pigments, while ensuing, multi-chromatic works present color as an active component. Although abstract, her practice is closely linked with nature, which she understands to be "the dynamism of visual forces—an event rather than an appearance."
Riley was born in 1931 in London, where she attended Goldsmiths College from 1949 to 1952 and the Royal College of Art from 1952 to 1955.
Riley joined David Zwirner in 2014. The gallery's inaugural exhibition of her work was held in London that year. Titled Bridget Riley: The Stripe Paintings 1961-2014, the show featured paintings and studies that spanned her career. In 2015, Bridget Riley marked her first solo presentation at the gallery in New York. Spanning 525 and 533 West 19th Street, the exhibition was her first show in the city since 2007, and the only New York presentation since Bridget Riley: Reconnaissance at the Dia Center for the Arts in 2000 to feature new and older works.
Earlier this year, Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, presented a new large-scale wall painting by Riley, which will be on view through 2019. In 2015, De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea, England hosted Bridget Riley - The Curve Paintings 1961-2014, a solo exhibition of over thirty paintings and studies focusing on the artist's recurrent use of curves from the past fifty years. The show traveled to the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague in 2016.
Other recent solo exhibitions include Bridget Riley: Venice and Beyond, Paintings 1967-1972 at Graves Gallery, Museum Sheffield, England (2016); Bridget Riley: Learning from Seurat, which highlighted Riley’s profound engagement throughout her career with French Post-Impressionist painter Georges Seurat, at The Courtauld Gallery in London (2015); and Bridget Riley (2014-2015), which presented the artist's large-scale sculpture Continuum alongside three paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago, making it her first presentation at an American museum in over a decade. Bridget Riley: Paintings and Related Work (2010-2011) was on view at the Sunley Room at the National Gallery, London and featured recent paintings by the artist alongside Old Master and Impressionist works. Also in London in 2010, the National Portrait Gallery presented Bridget Riley: From Life, an exhibition of Riley's little-known sketches drawn from life. Other recent international museum shows include Bridget Riley: Flashback, which first went on view at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool in 2009; Bridget Riley: Rétrospective at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in Paris in 2008; Bridget Riley: Paintings and Drawings 1961-2004 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney in 2004-2005; Bridget Riley: New Work at the Museum Haus Esters and Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld, Germany in 2002; and Bridget Riley: Reconnaissance at the Dia Center for the Arts, New York from 2000-2001.
Riley's visual vocabulary is complemented by her numerous books and essays in which she explores concepts pertaining to her own practice as well as the works of several other artists. Riley has also co-curated exhibitions on Paul Klee (Hayward Gallery, 2002) and Piet Mondrian (Tate Gallery, 1996).
In 1968, Riley won the International Prize for Painting at the Venice Biennale. In 1974, she was made a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) and in 1999, appointed the Companion of Honour. In 2003, the artist was awarded the Praemium Imperiale in Tokyo. She received the Kaiser Ring of the City of Goslar, Germany in 2009 and the Rubens Prize of the City of Siegen, Germany in 2012.
Work by the artist is included in museum collections worldwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Dia Art Foundation, New York; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Kunstmuseum Bern; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Tate Gallery, London. Riley lives and works in London.