Bridget Riley

Blaze 1

About this artwork

The first of five ‘Blaze’ paintings, Blaze 1 is an important early work by Bridget Riley. It was first displayed in London 1963 and is one of the works for which Riley became internationally recognised. Although it appears to be a spiral, Blaze 1 is formed from a succession of concentric circles made of zigzags. Where the ‘zigs’ of one circle meet the ‘zags’ of the next, chevrons are formed and the composition appears to rotate. This creates the perception of movement. Blaze 1 also reflects Riley’s interest in capturing sensations experienced in nature, such as dazzling sunlight. Writing about a childhood memory, the artist recalled: “Looking directly into the sun over a foreshore of rocks exposed by the tide – all reduced to a violent black and white contrast”.

Bridget Riley

Bridget Riley