Study Visit: Bridget Riley and Abstraction by Women Artists

Rise-1-1968©Bridget-Riley-2016-all-rights-reserved-Courtesy-Karsten-Schubert-London.39d76e67Join OCA tutor Bryan Eccleshall on the 28 May at Graves Gallery in Sheffield.

We will see a set of Bridget Riley paintings from a period during which she represented Britain at the Venice Biennale.

These paintings mark a key shift in her practice: the introduction of colour. They seems to be concerned with light and are less austere in their abstraction than her earlier work.

Accompanying the paintings is a set of works that are a ‘retreading’ of the steps she made when making ‘Rise’, one of the paintings on display. These are accounts of analytical experiments in colour and weight and reveal her work as closely thought and careful. They show her thinking and we might even consider akin to a learning log entry…

Having finished works with these reflections is a fascinating combination and well worth seeing if you’re experimenting with abstraction or simply keen to see a major artist’s work in a quiet, contemplative way. The Graves is seldom busy and you’ll have a chance to really see the work.

Age of Abstraction.3ba8c3bb

Accompanying this collection is a small selection of abstract works by other female artists, which demonstrates the breadth of approach, from hard-edged to gestural, that these women undertook in the wake of the demise of the very male genre of Abstract Expressionism. There are works by Sandra Blow, Gillian Ayers, Sonia Delaunay, and Celia Sevitt.

The permanent collection is also available to see and I’ll be happy to talk about some of these paintings. I wrote about two of these on the ‘In Praise of the Local Collection’ blogpost.

To reserve your place email


  1. bryaneccleshall 28 March 2016 at 12:08 pm

    …though of course I realise that Sonia Delaunay pre-dates the Abstract Expressionists…

  2. rmtzoo 29 March 2016 at 9:09 am

    I’d just like to confirm whether the title is correct:

    “BR and The Abstraction ‘Of’ Women Artists”, or is it meant to be “BR and The Abstraction ‘By’ Women Artists”?

    1. Joanne 29 March 2016 at 9:45 am

      Yes I think you are right, I’ve adjusted it slightly, thank you!



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