Artist Bridget Riley in Conversation with Courtney J. Martin, Paul Mellon Director, Yale Center for British Art

March 23, 2022

This film was created on the occasion of Bridget Riley: Perceptual Abstraction on view at the Yale Center for British Art March 3 through July 24, 2022. The conversation with Bridget Riley and Courtney J. Martin, Paul Mellon Director of the Yale Center for British Art, took place in London on March 23, 2022.

Over a seven-decade career, Bridget Riley (b. 1931) has used color, line, and geometric pattern to explore the dynamic nature of visual perception in paintings, drawings, and screen prints. 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 paintings harness the disruptive and harmonious relationships among color, line, and form with compositions of remarkable complexity and vibrancy.

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