A very concise review of the Bridget Riley exhibition at the Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art, would be this: Barring those who are prone to motion sickness, go and see it. This applies equally to predisposed art buffs who already know and appreciate her work, and to those who haven’t heard of her, for whom wordy adjective-laden praise will possibly do more harm than good.

Reproductions don’t come close to experiencing a Bridget Riley painting firsthand; the colors of her works are too carefully chosen and viewing distance is too important. From farther away, Riley’s compositions of stripes and abstract curvilinear designs in bright contrasting colors may seem decorative and graphic. As you move closer the very precise planning and execution of the images becomes more apparent. Rather than being based on intentional vacuity, as Warhol’s use of bold color and repetition could be said to do, or attempting to evoke deep emotion, like Mark Rothko’s moody color field paintings, Riley’s work is more about chipping away at the gap between visual sense and perception. In a 2009 London Review of Books article Riley wrote: “It is as though there is an eye at the end of my pencil, which tries, independently of my personal general-purpose eye, to penetrate a kind of obscuring veil or thickness.”

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