Optical Conscious:

The Art of Bridget Riley (Virtual Lecture)

Frances Follin, PhD, art historian and contributing author for the Moving Vision catalogue.

One of the most successful artists of Op art was Bridget Riley, who became famous on both sides of the Atlantic after her work appeared in the exhibition ‘The Responsive Eye’ in New York in 1965. Interest in Riley’s 1960s’ work, and in Op art more widely, has been revived over the past decade, which followed years of critics saying her works had “no content” and did “not lend themselves to intellectual exploration.” This talk will consider how Riley’s work from that period can be read in relation to the Cold War, the increasing impact of science and technology on everyday life, and conflicting desires both to embrace materialism and to reject it in favor of a more spiritual basis to life.  

Credits: John Pearson (American, b. 1940) Call #2, 1966. Acrylic on canvas. © John Pearson, courtesy of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation, photo by Jamie Stukenberg.

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