The Bridget Riley Art Foundation and Thames & Hudson are pleased to announce the release of Bridget Riley: The Complete Paintings.
Weighing nearly 50 lbs, this expansive catalogue assembles Riley’s remarkable oeuvre for the first time. Designed by Tim Harvey, Bridget Riley: The Complete Paintings has been edited by art historian and critic Robert Kudielka, who has known the artist since 1967 and is a leading expert on her work, along with Riley’s archivists Alexandra Tommasini and Natalia Nash.
The publication is spread across five volumes that span specific periods in the artist’s career: 1959 to 1973, 1974 to 1997, 1998 to 2009, 2009 to 2017, and early work from 1946 to 1958. More than 650 color illustrations explore works made on canvas, board, and the wall, as well as major large-scale commissions. Drawing on Riley’s historic archive of large-format transparencies, contemporary photography, and newly commissioned photographs by Anna Arca, this compendium includes many works that have never before been published, and demonstrates the artist’s active engagement with color over more than half a century.
"Through details you see the scale these paintings have," Kudielka says, "a sense of what is in front of you when you see a real painting." In lush spreads, close-ups of color sequences from the works are reproduced at their actual size. "I wanted the books to be attractive in themselves," Harvey, who has designed over a dozen publications of Riley’s work, explained, "but they also had to work as an accessible resource. I was keen to make good use of the archive of photographs of Bridget from the 1950s to the present day [Volume 5], to show her working environments and how various photographers, including J.S. Lewinski and [Lord] Snowdon, have portrayed her so compellingly."
The box set’s color scheme is informed by Riley’s current exhibition at Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, where a large-scale, site-specific wall painting employs a palette inspired by a visit she made to Egypt in 1980. "I had been closely involved with the installation of A Bolt of Colour in Marfa, so the ‘Egyptian palette’ of colors was very much on my mind—turquoise, yellow, blue, red, black, and white," Harvey said. "At a meeting in Bridget’s London garden last summer, it was decided to print something on the cover cloths rather than just use a standard cloth—so once we got as far as needing five volumes and a slipcase, the opportunity arose to use the Egyptian colors." The slipcase also features the iconic 1961 painting Kiss.
Bridget Riley: The Complete Paintings provides an unprecedented view of the artist’s monumental body of work.
In addition to the wall painting at Chinati Foundation, Riley’s work is currently on view in Bridget Riley: Paintings from the 1960s to the Present at Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art in Sakura through August 26, 2018. Featuring more than thirty works, ranging from black and white pieces created in the 1960s to recent wall paintings, the exhibition is the first major institutional presentation of the artist’s work in Japan since 1980. Riley’s critically acclaimed solo exhibition at David Zwirner London this winter presented works spanning 2014 to 2017.