Bridget Riley: Measure for Measure: New Disc Paintings

Bridget Riley: Measure for Measure: New Disc Paintings
Library Shelf Location 18.RILE
Publication Date 2018

Each Measure for Measure painting is a tour de force in mastering the chromatic divergences, so that they don’t rip apart the unity of a composition in establishing diversity into unity, and vice-versa. Riley had tried to do so in her earlier Circles Colour Structure Studies 1970/71 through the concentric enclosure of smaller discs inside larger circles, explaining then: ‘It is very important that each form finally relinquishes its separateness in the whole. It must be fully absorbed. So while it is necessary in the early stages to analyse each unit, my aim is to enable it to release sufficient energy to precipitate its dissolution in totality.’ This encircling was enough to establish diversity without letting it go astray, as already proven against the extreme regularity of the placement of black and white concentric circles in Dilated Centres (1963). The Measure for Measure series is proof that Riley is now able, through careful and intuitive placement of each greyed colour in an extremely regular composition, made of identical shapes, to work with separate forms that never relinquish their identity while never destroying the unity of the whole. On the contrary, the coloured circles, through a combination of regular repetition and specific variation, build up that unity from their separateness…

In the square format of the Measure to Measure paintings and the two contemporary square wall paintings, there is no privileged direction, even if, because of the numbers of discs chosen, there is always a centre disc. Depending on the way I look at the painting, it appears centrifugal or centripetal (the square format also ensures that there is no spilling of the image onto the borders, that is to say the mind does not continue what it has learned inside the motif). It establishes a relationship to the body of the viewer: if I come close, I see most discs as a peripheral halo; if I step away, it performs as a picture (un tableau). The horizontal rectangular murals are much less centred, and they veer between stability and instability, agitation and harmony, anxiety and composure, depending on the way and the moment we look at them. The discs bump and bang, as if they were billiard balls or atoms, although fully bidimensional, and then they seem to be creating static patterns that our gaze isolates and combines to build a global field. They model organised randomness or random organisation, which is very much like our lives: no centre, no centres, except in the sense that each disc always reads as a centre for our vision, around which the surrounding discs organise themselves; only axes.

ISBN 9783947127061
Quantity 1
Pages 48
Author Eric de Chassey
Format Hardback
Publisher Holzwarth Publications
Related Artist Bridget Riley
Categories Painting, Artist (relating to a single artist/collaborative team)
Language English

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