The Optical Conscious: Bridget Riley’s Op Art from an Historical Perspective
In the 1960s Bridget Riley was recognised as producing some of the most varied, serious and interesting Op Art paintings. Yet her work also attracted considerable controversy and some powerfully negative reactions. Frances Follin explores why Riley’s work aroused such strong feelings including the role of the Cold War, the increasing impact of science and technology on everyday life and conflicting desires to embrace materialism and yet to reject it in favour of a more spiritual basis to life. Britain’s post-war loss of status – but also renewed confidence among artists and an increased desire by ordinary people to take part in cultural and political life will also be examined.
Frances Follin is an editor and writer. She researched Bridget Riley’s work for her doctoral thesis at Birkbeck College, University of London, published by Thames and Hudson as Embodied Visions: Bridget Riley, Op Art and the Sixties (2004). Frances has written essays for exhibition catalogues, Burlington Magazine, The Art Book and Cassone. Her article on US artist Sue Fuller is due to appear on the Tate website later this year.
Garden Café open for drinks and, Seurat to Riley: The Art of Perception, open 6 to 7pm