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New exhibition by one of Britain's most important painters set to debut at Sheffield's Graves Gallery
Late Morning, 1967. © Bridget Riley 2016. All rights reserved, courtesy Karsten Schubert, London.

SHEFFIELD.- A new exhibition set to open at the Graves Gallery this February will explore a key period in the work of one of Britain’s most important and accomplished abstract painters. Bridget Riley: Venice and Beyond, Paintings 1967-1972 will focus on a breakthrough moment in the development of the artist’s work: the introduction of colour.

Bridget Riley first came to prominence in the early 1960s with her striking black and white paintings. In 1967 Riley began to incorporate colour into her work, creating Rise 1 – a highlight of Sheffield’s visual art collection – the following year. This significant moment of change coincided with Riley’s work being shown at the 1968 Venice Biennale, where she was to become the first British artist to win the International Prize for Painting. The adoption of colour came to inform Riley’s developments throughout her ensuing career, adding a rich new dimension to the artist’s investigation of visual contrast and perception.

Describing her move into colour and the endless possibilities that this presents, Riley reflects:

Earlier I chose form, and later colour, which I believe to be more precise because it is closer to our experience of the real world. Unstable and incalculable, it is also rich and comforting. For a painter it is an ideal vehicle because it can be both a revelation and merely the surface of things.[1]

This new exhibition, curated with work from the artist’s studio, will chronicle this unique moment of change, showcasing a carefully selected group of paintings and studies by Riley from this important period between 1967–85. Works on display alongside Rise 1 (1968) will include Late Morning 1 (1967), Little Diamond (1972), Vapour (1970), and a selection of works on paper.

Kirstie Hamilton, Head of Exhibitions and Displays at Museums Sheffield states:

Bridget Riley’s Rise 1 is one of the stars of Sheffield’s Visual Art collection and a real visitor favourite. We are delighted to have the opportunity to explore this hugely significant period in Riley’s work here at the Graves Gallery.

Bridget Riley: Venice and Beyond, Paintings 1967-1972 will open at the Graves Gallery on Thursday 18 February and continue until 25 June 2016 – entry to the exhibition is free. A catalogue accompanying the exhibition will be available from Spring 2016, published by Museums Sheffield and Ridinghouse, London.

[1] Bridget Riley and Robert Kudielka, ‘Into Colour’, The Eye’s Mind: Bridget Riley, Collected Writings 1965­–2009, Ridinghouse and Thames & Hudson, London, 2009, p.126

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