Review Round Up: Bridget Riley, Hayward Gallery

The Hayward Gallery is presenting a retrospective of the British artist’s work. Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews.

Bridget Riley, High Sky, 1991 (© Bridget Riley 2019)

iNews: ***** “To experience Riley’s works is to be exposed afresh to the thrill of seeing, the sensations induced by her optically challenging fields of lines, curves, spots and waves an unapologetic, bodily reminder that perception is a mechanism over which we have no control, a process that is mysterious and powerful, and fundamental to being alive.”

The Guardian: ***** “Some works creep up on you. Others demand that you move up close then step away, or watch rather than look at them, and let them take you over. There is some art that only needs to be seen once, or not at all. Riley’s depends on multiple appraisals, on looking and looking away, on departures and returns, on refocusing and re-encountering.”  “The show’s languid pacing and lofty scale becomes intense and intimate during a dive into Riley’s studio and biography.”

Time Out:**** “A lot of the more recent work is painfully dull – the colours and curves replaced by muted tones and ultra-formal composition – but after decades of innovation you can forgive her for slackening the pace a little. At its best, though, this is a beautiful show of stunning art by a vital figure in art history. It’s a celebration of perception, a chance to totally lose yourself in the act of looking, and the perfect opportunity to let Bridget Riley take your eyeballs for her ride. It’s more than worth the headache.”

Evening Standard: ***** “We’re reminded that making art is a non-linear process. And we gain access to that process, through Riley’s studies and preparatory cartoons and through early drawings and paintings. One, Pink Landscape (1960), was inspired by a vivid experience near Siena and painted through the lens of Riley’s artistic hero, Georges Seurat. Riley learnt from Seurat that the viewer was an active participant, she said: “Perception became the medium.” This show proves how richly she has mined it.”

Londonist: ** ” it’s only a lack of ambition in exhibition design that’s holding it back. Newcomers to Riley’s work may well enjoy the jazzy colours and the optical illusions, but I can’t get past thinking how much bigger and better this show should have been.”

Culture Whisper: **** “This interplay between the technical and the whimsical, the deliberate and the spontaneous, is characteristic of Riley’s work. It is through this balance that she continues to generate surprise, a feeling which the exhibition succeeds in emulating in its free-flowing curation.”

The Hayward Gallery’s Bridget Riley exhibition is on display until the 26th January 2020.

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