Bridget Riley

English (born 1931)
Bridget Riley Over 1966


Born 1931
Nationality English

Riley was born in London. In the early 1960s she became interested in colour theory. When tiny spots of pure colour are placed close together they will blend on the retina of the eye. Riley began experimenting with optical movement in painting, using squares, lines, circles and spirals. She used black and white at first but moved on to introduce colour in the mid-1960s. Her paintings produce feelings of movement and dislocation in the viewer, and even illusions of colour in her black and white works. Her work has been widely imitated, and she is known as one of the founders of 'Op Art'.

Glossary terms

  • A movement originating in the 1960s that used strongly contrasting abstract patterns, colours and forms to stimulate the eye. The term is an abbreviation of ‘optical art’. Exponents include Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely.