Monday, June 07, 2010

Bridget Riley

There's a new Bridget Riley exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. One of the great South London artists, she was born in Norwood in 1931, studied at Goldsmiths in New Cross (1949-52) and later taught at Croydon College of Art. Apparently she also had a revelation at Peckham Rye that she should start her art practice with drawing:

'One evening in the autumn of 1949 I was walking up and down Peckham Rye station. It was dark and wet and I was trying to decide what to do. I was coming to the end of my first term at Goldsmiths School of Art and was feeling upset and frustrated. I had arrived anxious to make a start, to find a firm basis for the work that I hoped lay ahead. It seemed that I was unable to get to grips with some of the real problems of painting, which I felt sure existed but which I could not even begin to identify.

A copy I had made of Van Eyck's Man in a Red Turban had been included in my portfolio submitted for entry to Goldsmiths, and this had probably helped me to get a place. Competition was stiff. People were still returning home after the Second World War and had priority in further education. These were men and women in their thirties who, delayed only by the slow pace of demobilisation, came directly from active service. They were overjoyed to be back in civvy street and to have the chance of making a life as artists. Coming straight from school, I counted myself lucky to be there. But this cultural climate did not diminish the challenge of what to do at Goldsmiths. On the contrary, it intensified it, as it became clear that this problem was felt by many of us in different degrees.

Excerpt published in Evening Standard, 10 May 2010, from 'Bridget Riley: From Life (£15), a catalogue published by the National Portrait Gallery to accompany the exhibition.

Bridget Riley, Blaze 4, 1963


Anonymous said...

If you move your head back & forth you can see it moving !

Anonymous said...

bridget was best known for her originalitiy post by //glife