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Bridget Riley

Bridget Riley makes waves at new Tate Britain retrospective

Riley was heavily involved in the curation of this exhibition alongside Paul Moorhouse

After its Lucian Freud exhibition last June, Tate Britain is now celebrating the career of another senior British painter, Bridget Riley (26 June-28 September). At 72, Riley is still Britain’s greatest living female painter and, like Freud, one who has resolutely trod her own path, impervious to the trends of the moment. The exhibition will be a true retrospective allowing Riley, and us, to review her career and gauge how far it has been affected by the vascillations of fashion—not much one suspects. There will be over 60 paintings borrowed from public and private collections around the world, covering all the salient aspects of her 40 years of painting. They have been curated by Paul Moorhouse, Tate Collections Curator, in close collaboration with Riley. Ranging from 1961-2003, the paintings will be grouped in roughly chronological sequence, charting the many stages of her experiments into how to create depth on a flat surface: parallel curves, vertical stripes, spots, monochrome black and white, subtle greys, vibrant colour... (below, “White discs 2”, 1964, on loan from a private collection). There will also be a room which demonstrates Riley’s meticulous working practice, containing studies and oil cartoons leading to a finished work. The latest work will be Riley’s largest wall-drawing to date, to be made at Tate Britain especially. A seemingly straightforward composition of circles, if you know where to stand the painting offers a wonderful surprise... To demonstrate the cyclical nature of her endeavours it will be shown side by side with a very early work from 1961.