Bridget Riley is the fantastic 1960s era British Artist best know for her optically vibrant and visually tension evoking paintings known as "OP ART" Ms Riley was the Ultimate 1960's Mod Pop Artist.

Flashback to 1964. In the United States, we were still reeling from the assassination of our President, escalating the Civil Rights movement, being "invaded" by British pop/rock music and, in general, pretty much done with notions of achieving idyllic lifestyles (despite that which was touted in the 1950s). Given the circumstances, it was a perfect time for a new artistic movement to burst on the scene.

In October of 1964, in an article describing this new style of art, Time Magazine coined the phrase "Optical Art" (or "Op Art", as it's more commonly known). The term referenced the fact that Op Art is comprised of illusion, and often appears - to the human eye - to be moving or breathing due to its precise, mathematically-based composition.

After (and because of) a major 1965 exhibition of Op Art entitled The Responsive Eye, the public became enraptured with the movement. As a result, one began to see Op Art showing up everywhere: in print and television advertising, as LP album art and as a fashion motif in clothing and interior decoration.

Riley’s vibrant optical pattern paintings, which she painted in the 1960s, were hugely popular and become a hallmark of the period. As your eyes explore the picture to the left, can you continue to see momentary after images (white dots) that cause a slight flickering effect?

Riley works meticulously, carefully mixing her colors to achieve the exact hue and intensity she desires. She explores color interaction first in small gouache color studies, then moving to full-size paper-ad-gouache designs (as in the photo at right). The large-scale canvases are then marked up and painted entirely by hand — first in acrylics, then in oil.

What a fantastic RETRO artist! She created a genre for the entire 1960s generation.


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