Bridget Riley was born at Norwood, London. Her childhood was spent in Cornwall and Lincolnshire. She studied at Goldsmiths' College (1949-52) and at the Royal College of Art (1952-55), first paintinging figure subjects in a semi-impressionist manner, until changing to a pointillist style in 1958, focusing mainly on landscapes. In 1960 she developed a style in which she explored the dynamic potential in optical phenomena. These so-called 'Op-art' pieces, such as Fall, 1963 (Tate, London), produce a disorienting physical effect on the eye.
Her group shows include Young Contemporaries, London, 1955; Diversion, South London Art Gallery 1958; an Arts Council Touring Exhibition, 1962; Tooth's Critics Choice Exhibition, selected by Edward Lucie-Smith, 1963; John Moores' Exhibition, Liverpool, 1963; The New Generation, Whitechapel Gallery 1964; Movement, Hanover Gallery, London, 1964; Painting and Sculpture of a Decade 1954-1964, Tate Gallery, 1964; and Op Art, touring Ireland in 1967. Her numerous European and American exhibitions include The Sixties Collection Revisited, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut, 1978.
Her first solo exhibition was held at Gallery One in 1962 where she showed again in 1963. Other notable solo shows were held at Richard Feigen Gallery, New York and Feigen Palmer Gallery, Los Angeles in 1965. The Museum of Modern Art in New York gave her an important exhibition which toured the US in 1966. She represented Britain at the Venice Biennale alongside Phillip King in 1968 and three years later, in 1972, the Hayward Gallery in London offered her a major show. It was here that she would return for her most recent major retrospective in 2019-2020.
1949-52Goldsmiths College, London
1952-55Royal College of Art, London
1966-67Museum of Modern Art, New York; Bochum Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
1968British Pavillion, XXXIV Venice Biennale, Venice; Städtische Kunstgalerie, Mannheim
1970-71Kunstverein Hanover, Hanover; Kunsthalle Bern, Bern; Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf; Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna, Turin; Hayward Gallery, London; National Gallery, Prague
1972Kunstverein, Göttingen, Göttingen
1973Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield; D.L.I. Museum and Arts Centre, Durham; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham; Museum and Art Gallery, Letchworth; City Art Gallery; Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol
1978-80Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Dallas Museum of Fine Art, Dallas; Neuberger Museum, Purchase; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Art Gallery of Australia, Perth
1984-85D.L.I. Museum and Arts Centre, Durham; Huddersfield Art Gallery, Durham; Ferens Art Gallery, Hull; City Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent; Usher Gallery, Lincoln; City of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol; Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne; Castle Museum, Norwich; Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston; York City art Gallery, York; Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield
1992-93Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nurnberg; Josef Albers Museum, Bottrop; Hayward Gallery, London; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
1985Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
1994Tate Gallery, London
1995Kettles Yard, Cambridge
Aberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen
1996Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds
1998-89Abbot Hall Art Gallery and Museum, Cumbria
1999Serpentine Gallery, London
1999-2000Kunstverein Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf
2000-01Dia Center for the Arts, New York
2003Tate Britain, London
2004Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; City Gallery Wellington, Wellington
2005Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills
Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau
2008Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris
2010National Gallery, London
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham; Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Norwich; Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton
National Portrait Gallery, London
2011Kettle's Yard, Cambridge
2012Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Siegen
2015De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea
2015-16Courtauld Gallery, London
2016Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
2018-2019Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles
2019Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh
2019-20Hayward Gallery, London