The Stripe Paintings 1961-2014 Press Release
June 12—July 25, 2014
David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition by British artist Bridget Riley organized in collaboration with Karsten Schubert. Featuring paintings and studies selected from all periods of her career, from 1961 to 2014, the show will be installed throughout the three floors of the gallery, making it the artist's first major survey in London since her 2003 retrospective at Tate Britain.
"Bridget Riley is undoubtedly one of the world's most significant living artists and her influence on present and future generations cannot be underestimated," says David Zwirner. "I am honoured to be able to show such a definitive selection of her stripe work in my London gallery."
Riley's dedication to the interaction of form and colour 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. Focusing on her recurrent use of stripes over the past fifty years, the exhibition demonstrates the visual variety she achieves by changes in colour, weight, rhythm, and density. Opening with an iconic black-and-white, horizontal stripe painting from 1961, the show includes her first stripe works in colour from later that decade, as well as a large two-panel diagonal stripe painting, Prairie (1971/2003), and vertical stripe works from the 1980s that demonstrate her "Egyptian" palette. The survey finishes with the artist's newest body of horizontal stripes, including several paintings that have never been exhibited before. Works on paper related to the paintings are also on view.
The show presents a select and illuminating overview of Riley's practice, which first achieved widespread international acclaim with the 1965 exhibition The Responsive Eye at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Riley has returned to stripes at crucial moments in her career, demonstrating their significance for her overall engagement with form, colour, and perception. As shown at the gallery, their varied palettes, tempos, and sizes further testify to the importance of nature in the artist’s work, which she understands as "the dynamism of visual forces–an event rather than an appearance". Inspired by painters of the past including Georges Seurat, Paul Cézanne, and Henri Matisse, Riley's abstract innovations offer a groundbreaking way of looking.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by David Zwirner, which will feature new scholarship by art historian Richard Shiff, an interview from 1978 with Robert Kudielka–one of her foremost critics–and an essay on the artist's wall paintings by Paul Moorhouse, 20th Century Curator at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Additionally, the book features archival imagery of Riley and her work since the 1960s, as well as illustrations of her 1987 and 2014 commissions for St Mary’s Hospital in West London.