Bridget Riley

A visit to a Bridget Riley exhibition is the closest thing to a "trip" a non-narcotic taker can experience. Boldly playing with illusion, Riley forces us to genuinely look at her paintings, and through looking they come to life, taking us on a journey we were not expecting.

Closest thing to a "trip" a non-narcotic taker can experience.

Large, imposing canvases draped in diagonal, horizontal and vertical lines stop you in your tracks. Some visitors to the exhibition struggle to even look at the more complex paintings, feeling lightheaded and slightly seasick. This is exactly what I love about Riley's style; she makes you feel uncomfortable, but also calm and comforted, and always on her terms.

There are ten rooms, divulging each aspect of her work from curves to black and white, stripes and diagonals and studes, each as compelling as the last. From the wall painting Rajasthan (2012), resembling flames billowing like a furnace, to the Tetris-type canvas From Here (1994) and Lagoon (1997) moving like ripples on water, the whole exhibition was other-wordly.

Some calming, others distressing, some sit in situ reverberate as if on repeat while others precipitate the destruction of themselves, which is equally exhillerating to see. Evident both in the earlier work and newer pieces, Riley constantly flirts with perception and allows us to question the messages our eyes absorb and understand. Riley has always understood the value of looking, and often, we don't stop to see what is right in front of us.

Alongside a room honouring the French artist, Georges Seurat, who was a great influence on Riley and a room featuring some of her earliest paintings - nudes, interiors, portraits - drawn while studying Fine Art at Goldsmiths University, give this exhibition the context it requires.

Held over two floors of the gallery, it was confusing to know which way to enter and exit, with many visitors lost at the beginning. A smoother transition from room to room would have made this "trip" an even more psychedelic experience.

Reviews by Sophia Charalambous

The Stand’s New Town Theatre

Carol Ann Duffy and John Sampson

★★★★★
White Stuff

Hand Weaving Workshop

★★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square / Underbelly, Cowgate

Bismillah! An ISIS Tragicomedy

★★
The Jazz Bar

The Gil Scott-Heron Songbook

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Cat Hepburn: #GIRLHOOD

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

For more than 60 years, Bridget Riley has created dazzling and compelling abstract paintings which explore the fundamental nature of perception. She is one of the most distinguished and world-renowned artists working today. This comprehensive exhibition is the first museum survey of Riley’s work to be held in the UK for 16 years and the first of its kind in Scotland. It features early paintings and drawings, iconic black-and-white works of the 1960s, Riley’s expansive explorations into colour, wall paintings and recent works, as well as studies that reveal Riley’s working methods.

Most Popular See More

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Cinderella The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets