Bridget Riley: The Complete Prints examines the artist’s printmaking from the 60s to now
This comprehensive study of Riley’s graphic work from 1962-2020 shows the evolution of her sideline practice and how it has complemented her paintings.
- Jenny Brewer
- 29 September 2020
Thames & Hudson and the Bridget Riley Art Foundation have published a hefty, canvas-bound new catalogue raisonné of Bridget Riley’s printmaking work, examining its beginnings and charting its evolution as a complementary sideline to her painting practice. Bridget Riley: The Complete Prints 1962-2020 brings together over 100 prints made over 60 years, mostly using silkscreen or occasionally giclée, showing her development as a printmaker as well as her relationship with leading printers in the UK.
In a foreword, Riley reminisces about her first foray into printmaking while working as an illustrator at advertising agency J. Walter Thompson in London. She says she was “undercover carrying on with my black-and-white work,” particularly studies on and around the painting Movement in Squares (1961). Encouraged and aided by one of the agency’s lead art directors Willie Landels, Riley explored making a print of this work, and thus began a new channel to her practice.
“As it is, printmaking has been a very valuable addition to my working life as a painter,” she continues, “allowing me to extend particular trains of thought. I sometimes leaf through my old studies, perhaps looking for something particular, and find something else which revives and restores a whole area of thought. Like my wall paintings, printmaking has been a sort of appendix to my work in my studio.”
The process of making this book, Riley says, has given the artist “the opportunity to spend time looking at and thinking about my printed work… Seeing the recent prints brought together with older ones and the dialogue between them reflects both shifts of interest and a continuity of intent.”
The book designed by Tim Harvey goes on to examine her methodical and process-driven approach. Educator Robert Kudielka writes in an essay about the collection: “Riley’s prints reflect her development as a painter over the last 50 years by providing intermittent insights into the explorations and compositional ventures on the way to a painting.” The book also features in-depth, informative essays by writer and artist Lynn MacRitchie, curator Craig Hartley and Riley’s archivists Alexandra Tommasini and Rosa Gubay, offering multi-faceted insight and opinion to the artist’s work.
Bridget Riley: The Complete Prints 1962–2020 is published by Thames & Hudson and the Bridget Riley Art Foundation, and coincides with an exhibition at Cristea Roberts Gallery, London, open now until 17 October 2020.
Bridget Riley: Untitled (based on Movement in Squares) 1962. (© Bridget Riley 2020)
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