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Bridget Riley Exhibition Opens 24 March

City Gallery Wellington media release
9 March 2005
For immediate release


City Gallery Wellington
Principal Sponsor: Ernst & Young
24 March - 26 June 2005

On March 24 City Gallery Wellington opens the doors on what is sure to be one of the artistic highlights of 2005, the major survey exhibition 'Bridget Riley: Paintings and Preparatory Works 1961-2004.'

Bridget Riley is Britain's leading abstract painter. Her visually-charged black and white paintings played a large part in shaping abstract painting in the 1960s, and over the four decades of her career she has consistently produced work which has entranced viewers and kept her at the forefront of contemporary painting.

This is the first time that a collection of Riley's work has been seen in New Zealand. The City Gallery Wellington exhibition includes 35 paintings and nearly 70 preparatory works which track the development in Riley's painting over the past 40 years.

This exhibition has been several years in the making, and follows on from Riley's major retrospective at the Tate Britain in 2003. City Gallery Wellington has worked closely with the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Sydney, and the British Council, London, to bring a substantial exhibition of Riley's work to the Southern Hemisphere.

'Bridget Riley: Paintings and Preparatory Work 1961-2004' opened at the MCA on 14 December 2004. Reviewing the exhibition, Sydney art critic Sebastian Smee wrote: "I can think of few more stimulating experiences this summer than visiting this show."

City Gallery Wellington director Paula Savage says: "Seeing Bridget Riley's paintings en masse is an extraordinary visual experience; the scale and energy of this exhibition is astounding. I hope that New Zealand audiences will take full advantage of this opportunity to see one of the best monographic exhibitions that will ever come to this country."

In 1971 English critic Robert Melville stated: "No painter, dead or alive, has ever made us more aware of our eyes than Bridget Riley." Using a simple vocabulary of colour and abstract shapes, Riley produces paintings that shimmer and dance, generating sensations of light, movement and space, and creating emotional and physical experiences for viewers. Bridget Riley was been personally involved in the selection of works for this exhibition, and many of her pivotal works are included in the show.

The exhibition at City Gallery Wellington is accompanied by a full programme of public events, including a keynote lecture series to be given by New Zealand and Australian speakers, responses to the exhibition by leading New Zealand painters, guided tours and musical events.

A substantial and lavishly illustrated catalogue has been published to mark the exhibition, and City Gallery Wellington is pleased to note that it includes an interview with the artist by New Zealand's own Bridget Riley expert, Jenny Harper (Assistant Vice Chancellor (Academic) at Victoria University of Wellington).


Entry to public programme events is included in the admission charge

$7 Admission

$5 Concession (City Gallery Wellington Friends membership card, Senior Citizen card, Student ID, Community Services Card)

$20 Family Concession (2 Adults and 3 Children)

$14 Multi Visit Ticket (3 visits)

Children under 5 years are free. Booked education groups from primary and secondary schools are also free.

Principal Sponsor: Ernst & Young

Generously supported by City Gallery Wellington Foundation

Exhibition organised and toured by the British Council in partnership with the artist Bridget Riley, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and City Gallery Wellington

City Gallery Wellington is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding support from the Wellington City Council

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