Bridget Riley (born April 24, 1931) is a British artist best known for her optical art (op art) paintings. She was born in Norwood, London, and attended Goldsmiths College from 1949 to 1952, where she studied art. Early in her career, Riley was influenced by the pointillist style of Georges Seurat and experimented with painting abstract compositions with small dots of color. However, in the mid-1960s, she began to create the op art paintings for which she is best known. These works use geometric shapes and patterns to create optical illusions that seem to vibrate and move on the canvas.
Riley's op art paintings quickly gained international recognition, and she became one of the leading figures in the movement. Her works were shown in major exhibitions around the world, including the Venice Biennale and Documenta. In the late 1960s, Riley began to experiment with color, creating more complex and vibrant compositions. She also began to work on large-scale murals and installations, including a commission for the Royal Liverpool University Hospital.
Throughout her career, Riley has received many awards and honors, including a CBE in 1974 and the Order of Merit in 2003. She has also been the subject of numerous retrospectives, including a major exhibition at the Tate Britain in 2003. Despite being in her nineties, Riley continues to paint and create new works. In 2019, she was awarded the Sikkens Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in contemporary art.
Riley's influence on the art world is significant, with many contemporary artists citing her as a major inspiration. Her op art paintings have become iconic examples of the movement, and her later works continue to demonstrate her skill and innovation as an artist.