Bridget Riley's dazzling art collection at Tate Modern

Published by: SQ Abbas/ Birkbeck, University of London | 18-Aug-2018
Tate Modern in London houses some of the most famous collection of British art and international and modern contemporary art.
According to their website: "When Tate first opened its doors to the public in 1897 it had just one site, displaying a small collection of British artworks. Today we have four major sites and the national collection of British art from 1500 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art, which includes nearly 70,000 artworks."

One artist whose work stands out at Tate is Bridget Riley. Art critic Robert Melville (the New Statesman, 1971) rightly said: "No painter, dead or alive, has ever made us more aware of our eyes than Bridget Riley."

Her dazzling paintings on display at Tate Gallery are made by hand and brush. She started her career by creating patterns in black and white but shifted towards colour patterns in the 70's and called it closer to our experience of the real world. Unstable and incalculable, it is also rich and comforting'.

Artworks on display at Tate Modern

Nataraja, 1993

Nataraja' is a diagonal stripe painting comprising an array of colours to create a striking effect, and its remarkable feature is the colours that exist in as many as twenty different shades.

Nataraja' derives from the Hindu folklore, which means Lord of the Dance. It refers to the Hindu God Shiva with four arms whose dance is seen as an important source for all movement in the universe.

"Line, shape and colour are manipulated by Bridget Riley to develop elegantly complex patterns that draw attention to the physical process of perception," says its display caption at Tate.

To a Summer's Day 2, 1980

To a Summer's Day 2, is an acrylic painting on canvas consisting of waves in four colours: blue, violet, pink and ochre with each wave carrying three shades. The assorted waves and moving curves give the viewer an impression of motion in it.

Evoë 3, 2003

Evoë 3 is a large painting with uneven curves in green, blue, light pink and dark pink colours "“ composed on two adjoined canvases by Bridget Riley due to its vast proportions.

Its display caption reads: "The title Evoë was a cry associated with the intoxicated rites of the Greek god Bacchus."

The curvy shapes reminisce leaves or petals, and the sense of motion in the painting indicates the flows of ocean waves.

Fête, 1989

Although not on display, Fête is a screenprint with colourful and unusual composition within a white border, consisting of twenty vertical bands separated into several coloured sections. It features even, unmodulated colours', with no visible motif to the arrangement.

Fête is a French word meaning celebration' and Riley may have chosen this title to emphasise the joyful quality of the work's strong, bright colours or the energetic appearance of its dynamic composition'.

Despite being famous as an artist, Riley has made more than seventy screenprints since the early 1960s.

To find out more about Bridget Riley's works, visit

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