Bridget Riley: Perceptual Abstraction

Over a seven-decade career, Bridget Riley (b. 1931) has used color, line, and geometric pattern to explore the dynamic nature of visual perception across paintings, drawings, and screenprints. She first achieved international prominence in the early 1960s with her distinctive black-and-white paintings, their rhythmic lines and curves appearing to vibrate across the canvas. Since then, Riley has relied on deceptively simple shapes to startling effect. Working in series, the artist gradually expanded her palette, introducing gray tonal variations before shifting to vivid color juxtapositions. Riley's arresting and challenging paintings harness the disruptive and harmonious relationships between color, line, and form with compositions of remarkable complexity and vibrancy.

Selected by the artist and displayed over two floors, the works in this exhibition comprise the largest survey of Riley's work in the United States in twenty years. The show opens with an in-depth examination of Riley's seminal monochrome paintings of the 1960s on the third floor and presents the full range of her oeuvre in color on the second floor. Assembling Riley's most iconic paintings alongside rarely seen works, the exhibition traces the evolution of her deep engagement with the fundamentals of visual perception. 


Bridget Riley: Perceptual Abstraction was conceived by the artist in collaboration with Courtney J. Martin, Paul Mellon Director at the Yale Center for British Art, working with Maryam Ohadi-Hamadani, former Postdoctoral Research Associate, with the assistance of Martina Droth, Deputy Director and Chief Curator; Charlotte Lefland, Senior Curatorial Assistant in Prints and Drawings; and Rachel Stratton, Postdoctoral Research Associate.


Top image
Bridget Riley, New Day (detail), 1988, oil on canvas, Bridget Riley Collection © 2022 Bridget Riley, all rights reserved.

Related events

Print made by Bridget Riley, "Blue and Pink" (detail), 2001, screen print on paper, Yale Center for British Art, Gift of John Elderfield and Jeanne Collins, © Bridget Riley 2020. All rights reserved

Call for Papers | Bridget Riley Symposium

Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 5 pm