Bridget Riley and Abstract art in England in the 1950s and 60s

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A loose grouping of artists in London in the 40's and 50's began to make paintings not abstracted from nature, but built up from basic shapes, using colours put together according to rational rather than expressive or decorative principles. These so-called constructivist artists included Victor Pasmore, Kenneth and Mary Martin and later Gillian Wise - paintings and sculpture by each of these artists is included in this display.

Bridget Riley was made aware of this new abstract work during her studies at Goldsmiths College. However, it was several years before she adopted a fully abstract idiom in her work. Her breakthrough came in the 1960's when she began to create black and white paintings based on abstract geometrical shapes. The two early artworks by Riley included in this display mark the beginning of a long and illustrious career where she has explored the dynamics of vision, setting the static into motion.

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