History’s Heroines

Bridget Riley – “Op” Artist

photo courtesy: theartstory.com

     Bridget Riley 1931 – Present

Bridget Riley is considered one of the founders and leaders in the genre of Optical Illusion art, otherwise known as, “Op Art.” Born into a family who supported her from an early age, Bridget had an extensive art education and later worked as an art teacher. She was  greatly inspired by Seurat. Much of the work she produced early in her career is in the style of Seurat’s Pointillism. 

     By the 1960’s, however, she began to experiment with line, shape, and color. She wanted to develop her own, unique artistic style that would evoke an emotional and physical response in those who viewed her work. Using her background in Pointillism, Bridget painted pieces that created movement and dimension so that her work seemed to “vibrate” on the canvas. 

photo courtesy: studiointernational.com

In 1968, her black and white Op Art paintings won the coveted Venice Biennial Prize. She was the first female to attain the award. After that, she began experimenting with color, again referencing the complementary colors used by Seurat. Her success lead her to be considered the most prominent painter in the American Op Artist  Movement. Her work greatly inspired the fashion and art worlds of 1960’s London. 

“Blaze” – photo courtesy: The Guardian

Ms. Riley continues to work today, splitting her time between London and France. Her work can currently be seen at the Tate Modern in London and The MoMa in New York.  

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