BRIDGET RILEY (B. 1931) 4 Colours (9 Whites, 3rd Group) Study 2 for Summer Paintings, 1983

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Lot 5
BRIDGET RILEY
(B. 1931)
4 Colours (9 Whites, 3rd Group) Study 2 for Summer Paintings, 1983

Sold for US$ 100,000 inc. premium
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE ESTATE
BRIDGET RILEY (B. 1931)
4 Colours (9 Whites, 3rd Group) Study 2 for Summer Paintings, 1983

signed, titled and dated '4 colours (9 whites, 3rd group) Study 2 for Summer paintings - Bridget Riley '83.' (lower left)
gouache and pencil on paper

43 7/8 x 31 3/4in.
111.5 x 80.8cm

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Juda Rowan Gallery, London.
    Acquired from the above by the previous owner.
    By descent from the above to the present owner.


    "Riley, it was repeatedly claimed, produced an art of pure visuality, a virtual stroking of the retina through the most dazzling painterly effects, effects described by the artist through the notion of 'visual tempi.'"1

    Entrancing and confounding, the works of British artist Bridget Riley defy passive observation. At the pinnacle of Riley's oeuvre are her stripe paintings. First conceived in 1961, this series capitulated Riley to the forefront of the Op Art movement. Her most robust compositions, however, were created in the early 1980s, when Riley began working with a new color scheme of individually lustrous pigments to create optically challenging illusions of movement across a flat plane.

    The stunning precision of Riley's patterned paintings quickly awarded her international acclaim and exhibitions at the Tate Britain, Museum of Modern Art, and David Zwirner Gallery. Employing a simultaneously intense yet soothing multi-chromatic technique, Riley seductively manipulates perception through the transformation of seemingly simplistic colors and forms, bewitching the eye of the viewer.

    Visual consciousness is elusive in Riley's 4 Colours, 1983, the vibrant, serialized hues reflecting and absorbing light incongruously as the viewer approaches the work. The mechanics of line and form are tangible; the work is meticulously designed to tease the eye into assuming the sensation of dynamic movement. The artist speaks to this illusionary intention, noting, "... it is stimulating, an active, vibrating pleasure."2

    To stand before Riley's 4 Colours is to be confronted with an aesthetic quandary. When viewed as a whole, the work exudes a certain poetic calmness, yet the dizzying arrangement of color at once seems to overwhelm the senses. Deeply introspective and undeniably engaging, the present work forces the viewer to accept a mystifyingly pleasing optical discomfort: though the eye struggles to find a distinct focal point, it is virtually impossible to look away.


    1. P. M. Lee, Chronophobia: On Time in the Art of the 1960s, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2004, p. 175.
    2. Ibid., p. 157.
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