To coincide with the celebratory exhibition of Bridget Riley's work at the National Gallery, Louisa Buck explores the work of Britain's leading abstract artist, exploring how she works with light and colour and the character of forms to produce an exquisite shimmering and geometrical dazzling, that conspire to create what is her signature - the restless movement - in her painting.
Riley's urge to be an artist came from the pleasure of 'sight' which she developed formally at art school and her exploration of the colour and geometry of the 19th century French painter, Seurat, a 'Pointillist' whose colour theories caused the painting surface to bristle with energy and movement. Riley took on the challenge of developing his vision, and turned to abstraction, recognising that figuration could distract from the visual experience of movement - which might reside in 'the eye's mind', the title of a book of her writing and interviews.
Riley is the most respected artist in Britain and is one of the few contemporary painters with a truly international reputation. Her distinguished career encompasses fifty years of uncompromising and remarkable innovation.
She came to critical attention with the famous black and white paintings that she made in the early 60s. Her work was included in a landmark exhibition, The Responsive Eye at The Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1965 which established her as an artist of the first order. This position was endorsed by Riley's representation of Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1968 when she became the first British contemporary painter to win the International Prize for painting.
Producer: Kate Bland
A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.
Britain's leading 'Op' artist takes listeners on a walk, describing what she sees.