An installation view of the exhibition titled Bridget Riley, Studies: 1984–1997, at David Zwirner, London, in 2020.

Bridget Riley

Studies: 1984–1997

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David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of studies by Bridget Riley in The Upper Room in the London gallery. The artist has selected a group of works from the 1980s and 1990s that reflect the connection between the writings of Paul Klee (1879–1940) and her own understanding of abstract painting. As Riley has noted, “Paul Klee was of seminal importance to me because he showed me what abstraction meant.”1 Late works by the Bauhaus master will be on display concurrently on the ground and first floors.

 

On view in the exhibition will be working studies that show a movement from ‘stripes’ to ‘rhomboids.’ In the earliest of these works, Riley begins to cross her stripes with short diagonal elements, to move the eye around, across, and through the pictorial area, leading to the development of a new visual form, her ‘rhomboid’ paintings.

 

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Image: Installation view, Bridget Riley, Studies: 1984–1997, David Zwirner, London, 2020

 

Below: Bridget Riley in her East London studio with cartoon scale pieces, early 1990s. Photo by Bill Warhurst. Courtesy the Bridget Riley Archive

Dates
March 6July 31, 2020
Private View
Thursday, March 5, 6–8 PM
Artist
A photo of Bridget Riley in her East London studio with cartoon scale pieces, early 1990s.
“Right up to, and in some ways including, the stripe paintings I used to build up to sensation, accumulating tension until it released a perceptual experience that flooded the whole as it were. Now I try to take sensation as the guiding line and build, with the relationships it demands, a plastic fabric which has no other raison d'etre except to accommodate the sensation it solicits....I wanted more. A way of working which allowed me to get to grips with plastic issues, to get closer to the real problems of painting.” 
—Bridget Riley in conversation with Robert Kudielka, 1990 
A work on paper by Bridget Riley, titled Untitled [towards Broken Gaze], dated 1986.

Bridget Riley

Untitled [towards Broken Gaze], 1986
Pencil and gouache on graph paper
25 7/8 x 19 1/8 inches (65.8 x 48.7 cm)
Framed: 33 5/8 x 26 5/8 x 1 7/8 inches (85.4 x 67.7 x 5 cm)
A work on paper by Bridget Riley, titled Scale study for The Ivy Painting, dated 1994.

Bridget Riley

Scale study for The Ivy Painting, 1994
Pencil and gouache on paper
15 5/8 x 13 7/8 inches (39.7 x 35.5 cm)
A work on paper by Bridget Riley, titled Study for Code of Manners, dated 1988.

Bridget Riley

Study for Code of Manners, 1988
Pencil and gouache on paper
26 3/4 x 35 3/4 inches (67.9 x 90.7 cm)
“In the rhomboids, Riley found a different way of relating the pictorial elements in her work . Whereas previously she had used a square and oval, circle, l i ne or curve, these new paintings were determined by the junction of a vertical and a diagonal. This relationship becomes the new unit. The shifting depths of these units gave rise to dynamic fields of broken colour. Both fragile and robust, fluid and stable, the rhomboids occupied Riley for the next ten years.” —Natalia Naish and Alexandra Tommasini, “The Rhomboids Paintings: A New Beginning” in Bridget Riley, Studies: 1994–95, 2015
An artwork by Bridget Riley, titled 10th Aug Revision of July 8, dated 1997.

Bridget Riley
10th Aug Revision of July 8, 1997
Pencil and gouache on paper
26 7/8 x 35 5/8 inches (68.5 x 90.5 cm)
Framed: 34 3/4 x 43 1/8 x 1 7/8 inches (88.3 x 109.4 x 5 cm)

“I no longer treat colour in a purely perceptual way. Sensation of colour is a different thing, it takes in attendant qualities, so to speak, such as glitter or sombreness, buoyancy or weight, dull glow or full brilliance, impalpability or density, softness or hardness—in short a surprising variety of sensual relationships…If a painting is to be a work, a work that aspires to the condition of art, it is obliged to express the tenor of existence.” —Bridget Riley in conversation with Robert Kudielka, 1990

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