Familiar but complex in its challenge

Bridget Riley's work in new exhibition WXHM-3RcoATopmeAXJsI
Bridget Riley's work in new exhibition WXHM-3RcoATopmeAXJsI

Curves, colour and confusion on the eyes.

Bridget Riley’s new exhibition at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill is a treat for the brain. Coinciding with the De La Warr’s 80 year celebrations of being one of the first modernist public buildings in the UK, Riley’s canvases compliment the Pavilions architecture and its setting perfectly. Riley’s brush strokes follow the contours of the staircase, the waves of the sea outside, and even the top of a Mr Whippy. It’s as if the flow of the curve that Riley is so fixated about is a form we’re already good friends with.

It’s easy to feel immersed within her psychedelic paintings and whether working just black and white, or from a wider palette, Riley is able to offer a sense of tranquility. Borderline mathematic genius, Riley’s over-sized canvases hang next to drawings and cut-outs that help explain the beautiful complexity of the curve, and how a natural form can turn into such a scientific object. Following on from other revolutionaries of the time such as Jackson Pollock, and like many other artists, Riley was, and still does challenge the constraints of art; and by doing so she challenges the mental constraints of us, the viewer.

Bridget Riley - The Curve Paintings 1961-2014 is free and is running at the De La Warr Pavilion through the summer until Sunday 6 September 6 2015.

Words and photograph by Josh Speer