Bridget Riley: Working Drawings

Lucy Askew, Gene Baro, Lynne Cooke, Maurice de Sausmarez, Michael Harrison, John Leighton Sir, Jennifer Licht, Bridget Riley

Spanning her entire career, this book explores the celebrated British artist’s drawings and is created under the aegis of the Bridget Riley Art Foundation.

Bridget Riley’s paintings are developed carefully over time, the result of methodically working through pictorial variables such as color, tone, scale, and rhythm. Studies are central to this process, allowing Riley to concentrate on the analysis and synthesis that lie at the heart of her working practice. This volume richly illustrates the thinking that goes into Riley’s work through a selection of over 150 drawings, color analyses, notations, scale studies, and cartoons. The selection spans most of Riley’s working life, tracing the origins and evolving nature of her remarkable body of work. Riley’s beginnings are also documented through selected childhood drawings, work made during and immediately following her studies at Goldsmiths’ College and the Royal College of Art, and her early explorations into abstraction.

The artist’s working method is brought into high relief in a newly commissioned conversation with Riley and Sir John Leighton, Director of the National Galleries of Scotland. The text explores the cardinal moments in the artist’s practice and the impulses that bring her work into existence. The volume also includes four texts dedicated to Riley’s studies and practice written by the artist, art historians, curators, and museum directors, which shed further light on the enduring role of drawing and the process of exploration central to her work.


Lucy Askew


Lucy Askew is Chief Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Galleries of Scotland, and a Trustee of The Common Guild and of Edinburgh Art Festival.

Gene Baro


Gene Baro was an American curator, critic, writer, and organizer of special exhibitions of art.

Lynne Cooke


Lynne Cooke is Senior Curator for Special Projects in Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

Maurice de Sausmarez


Maurice de Sausmarez was a painter, teacher, and art historian and author of Bridget Riley, London, 1970.

Michael Harrison


Michael Harrison was Director of Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge.

John Leighton Sir


Sir John Leighton is an art historian, curator, and Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland.

Jennifer Licht


Jennifer Licht was Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA, New York.

Bridget Riley

Foreword By

Bridget Riley is one of the most significant abstract painters working today and a master of the Op- Art style, which came to prominence in the 1960s. Her work is represented in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, Dia Art Foundation, NY; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, NY; and other institutions around the world.