Born. 24.04.1931 in West Norwood
London English Artist, Op-Art
About the Artist
Bridget Louise Riley was born on 24 April 1931 in West Norwood, London. In 1938, her father, who was a printer, relocated the family and his business to Lincolnshire.
Riley, together with her mother and sister Sally, moved to a cottage in Padstow, Cornwall at the outbreak of World War II. Her early schooling was done by family friends or retired teachers. After the war, she studied at Cheltenham Ladies’ College for two years followed by three years at Goldsmiths’ College, and finally studied art at the Royal College of Art from 1952–55
In 1956 her father was seriously injured in a car accident. Riley spent two years nursing him, suffering a nervous breakdown from the stress of caring for him.
She worked as an art teacher for children from 1957 to 1958 at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Harrow where she began a basic design course. In 1959 she worked at the Loughborough School of Art, Hornsey College of Art, and also the Croydon College of Art from 1962–64. In the early 60s, she also worked in a glassware shop before finding a part-time position as an illustrator at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency.
While working at the advertising agency, she began a style of painting based on the pointillist technique as compared to her early work which was more figurative with an impressionist flair. Pointillism was the stepping stone that influenced her towards her Op Art style, expanding dots towards geometric shapes and patterns while maintaining the depth and structure in the finished piece. It was not long after this that she began her signature Op Art style, consisting of black and white geometric patterns.
In the late 1960s, Riley, feeling something was missing (my opinion) began her search for perfect colour combinations contributing towards a vibrant intensity. She produced her striped works but still felt something was lacking. At this point, she began her travels to find inspiration.
Riley’s works evolved with colour shapes and designs, all drawing the viewer into her ideas of movement and form. Her work is exhibited worldwide and has stood the test of time.