Bridget Riley

09 Nov 2007 - 05 Jan 2008

October 10th Bassacs, 2007
"Recent Paintings and Gouaches"

NEW YORK, October 19, 2007—PaceWildenstein is pleased to announce a two-venue exhibition of Bridget Riley’s recent work at 32 East 57th Street and 534 West 25th Street, New York City from November 9, 2007 through January 5, 2008. Bridget Riley: Recent Paintings and Gouaches will feature 12 oil on linen paintings, her largest works to date, and 8 gouaches from 2004-2007 as well as Wall Painting 1 (2007), a graphite and acrylic work that measures approximately 8 x 16 feet. Opening receptions will be held on Thursday, November 8th from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at 534 West 25th Street and from 6-8 p.m. at 32 East 57th Street.

Marla Prather, former curator at the National Gallery of Art, Whitney Museum and Tate, London, has contributed an essay to the accompanying exhibition catalogue, which also includes an interview with the artist by Lynne Cooke, curator at Dia Art Foundation, conducted at the Cranbrook Museum of Art in Michigan. In her essay New Cadences: Paintings by Bridget Riley, 2004-2007 Prather writes that “Riley has established a personal repertoire of colors, shapes and compositional structures that have become as closely identified with her unique aesthetic as the black and white squares, lines, and ovals of her paintings from the 1960s.” She continues, “(Riley’s) expansive horizontal format and increased scale were adopted to accommodate the proliferating forms that are rhythmically deployed across the compositions, now like vast panoramas.” Prather also acknowledges Riley’s extensive travels as well as her affinities and understanding of artists such as Cézanne and Matisse and how it informs her painting practices.

Bridget Riley has stated that her “paintings breed” and the new works are clear indications of how she continually builds upon her artistic developments. In these canvases Riley has reintroduced distinct vertical divisions which counter the forceful diagonal momentum of the curvilinear forms, effectively redirecting the energy back into the composition. Riley’s skillful combination of vibrant hues heightens the complexity of her paintings. In Dark Painting (Painting with Verticals, Cadence 6), 2006, for example, color accentuates the formal aspects of her compositions, adding movement and rhythmic organization to the overall structure.

The 12 gouaches on view offer insight into the artist’s working method. These small studies aid in Riley’s decision making process and she considers them essential to her work. Prather relates her preparatory process to Matisse’s history with gouache découpée, though unlike Matisse, Riley’s ultimate result is the painting not the collage.

Bridget Riley (b. 1931, London) quickly gained notoriety soon after her first solo exhibition in 1962 in London. She has since been the subject of over one hundred and thirty solo exhibitions internationally including thirteen retrospectives. Riley’s first exhibition at PaceWildenstein was held in 2000 in conjunction with Reconnaissance, a survey exhibition of early work at the Dia Center for the Arts, New York (2000-2001). Riley’s second solo exhibition at PaceWildenstein was held in 2004. Dr. Richard Schiff contributed an essay to the accompanying catalogue.

Bridget Riley’s most recent retrospective, Bridget Riley: Paintings 1961-2004, opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney in 2004. In 2003 the Tate Britain organized a major retrospective entitled Bridget Riley. In 1992, Bridget Riley, Paintings 1982–1992, originated at Kunsthalle, Nuremberg and traveled to the Josef Albers Museum, Bottrop; Hayward Gallery, London; and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham. The artist’s second retrospective, organized by the Arts Council of Great Britain, opened at The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, in 1978. The exhibition of nearly 100 paintings completed during the years 1959-1978 traveled to the Dallas Museum of Fine Art; Neuberger Museum, Purchase, New York; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; and National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. In 1970, the Arts Council of Great Britain organized Bridget Riley’s first retrospective, Bridget Riley: Paintings and Drawings 1951-71, which opened at Kunstverein Hannover, and traveled to Kunsthalle Berne; Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf; Galleria civica d’arte Moderna, Turin; Hayward Gallery, London; and the National Gallery, Prague. The exhibition included both her signature black and white canvases as well as the new colored paintings.

Bridget Riley studied at Goldsmith’s College in London from 1949-52 and received a B.A. from the Royal College of Art in 1955. In 1968, at the 34th Venice Biennale she was the first woman ever awarded the International Prize for Painting. She has received Honorary Doctorates from the University of Exeter (1997), De Montfort University (1996), Cambridge University (1995), Oxford University (1993), University of Ulster (1986), and University of Manchester (1976). Riley was also appointed Companion of Honour in 1999, and in 2003, she received the prestigious Praemium Imperiale, the International Prize for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts, from the Japan Art Association.

Bridget Riley’s work is included in important public collections worldwide, including The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, New York; Dallas Museum of Art; Dia Art Foundation, New York; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art, Japan; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; The National Museum of Modern Art; Tokyo; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Stedelijk Museum; Amsterdam; Tate, London; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

Tags: Josef Albers, Ed Atkins, Bridget Riley