Comments on: Bridget Riley: Colour-Form vs Coloured Forms Abstract Critical is a not-for profit company aiming to establish a new critical context for all generations of artists involved with ambitious abstract art. Sun, 09 Nov 2014 17:23:33 +0000 hourly 1 By: NR Mon, 04 Aug 2014 21:48:30 +0000 No.

When Suprematism or even Free jazz were charting new territory, both came back with the discovery that there is indeed a breaking point beyond which very little of interest lies. Both were helpful, useful in the historic and didactic sense they produced an enlarged map of what’s thought to be possible.

Nothing of the sort can be said of these works.

The aesthetic value of these works is dangerously close to that of hotel lobby wall coating which we don’t consider meriting even 10 seconds of our attention let alone appreciation in the form of money. I wonder if the author would be able to pontificate on the intellectual virtues of a similar sized piece of genuine wallpaper. The author might. What he wouldn’t be able to do with a straight face is to discourse on its aesthetic virtues.

Art that has no aesthetic value is failed art and it is quite telling the subject has been avoided altogether.

In visual art, there is nothing short of or beyond form.

By: JB Tue, 29 Jul 2014 20:36:27 +0000 I disagree. The reductionism that color requires to function as independently as it can must occur without the illusionism of space that complex compositional arrangements MUST rely upon. You may think that this is a dead end approach, but that does not mean that a dead end is without benefit. It often highlights the thresholds that we must traverse in any type of painting. To say that this is “bad painting” I think just represents a rather amateurish take on formalism ignoring what benefits such reductionism can bring. To put up those types of barriers would lead to stasis in the arts.

By: NR Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:01:44 +0000 Agreed.

Banal, trivial, sterile, pointless. This is art all right, but the mediocre kind, which has very little to offer but demands the world from the viewer. In fact, the two has tightly correlated. The less the works has to offer the more the viewer has to step in to fill the void.

Visual art is self-sufficient and it is very telling when the artist feels the need to persuade viewers of work’s worth through pages of written text. In them the artist is just confessing to his own defeat.

By: chris edwick Sat, 12 Jul 2014 17:32:10 +0000 Remove the hand made brush mark from painting and what’s left can only be pattern; the pleasant but ultimately banal arrangement of colour that can’t mean more than decoration.I appreciate there are many who can pontificate elaborately about their experiences in front of mere pattern. It’s a sad reflection of our time. This isn’t painting;its arranging. It remains dull, i.e. bad art, even if it was all very groovy in post painterly Greenbergian 1965. The young Stella new it was only a momentary mistake and moved quickly on from those absurd 1960 black paintings…he knew immediately that what you see has actually got to be more than what you see…Scully got it too and moved on to hand painting with eventually, spectacular results.

As for getting assistants to make them…I’ll just slowly count to ten….and slide them into the bin with Hirsts spot paintings.

It’s the hand mark of brushwork whether its van Gogh or Scully that invigorates and humanises painting and it’s only this that instils it with a living, breathing, meaning.

By: Robin Greenwood Fri, 11 Jul 2014 16:55:54 +0000 I have a reasonable amount of respect for Bridget Riley and the way she conducts herself, but little time for her work, which, when it is not unpleasantly eyeball-bashing, is tasteful and banal. The few theories she has on art that I have come across are antithetical to just about everything I believe in, particularly her ideas about imposing the geometry of her own work on to a reading of figurative art from the past. To me, her paintings have no form, coloured or not. That said, it remains interesting to me to try to understand why I don’t get anything out of her work, and why it does in fact come close to epitomizing the traits I most dislike in quite a lot of abstract painting. My conviction is that her work is overwhelmingly about two-dimensional design and composition, and is not spatial. That confirms a recent idea that colour in painting is barely spatial, if at all, and that robust space in painting, figurative or abstract, depends upon other factors. In abstract painting – perhaps to a lesser degree in figurative painting, but maybe more than we think – the creation of space depends upon the duality of, on the one hand, how the painting is made or built, i.e. the nature of the facture, both overt and subliminal, and on the other, the structural or formal architecture. Riley eschews all of these factors, favouring a complete absence of facture (it matters not at all which stripe was painted first or last) and a formulaic two-dimensional structure, usually stripes or chevrons. Her supporters will no doubt say such stripping back to “essentials” is a large part of her achievement, but to me it is painting denuded of almost all value and meaning for the sake of a very limited kind of appeal to modernist style.

Looking at an old RA catalogue today I came across this painting, “St Peter Healing St Agatha” c.1614, by Giovanni Lanfranco,,_Giovanni_-_St_Peter_Healing_St_Agatha_-_c._1614.jpg , which forcefully made me realise that even in the early seventeenth century there were some painters who were more interested in engaging with the plastic exploration of real space, and others who settled for whatever souped-up 2-D compositional thing was doing the rounds at the time. Like, say, this:

When all you art historians have stopped laughing at my crap analysis, and the rest of you have got over your annoyance at me writing a comment that has no compliments and little relevance to Bridget Riley, I do want to say (again) that stripes, spots, patterns, geometry, all that stuff, is just dead in the water. Abstract painting needs the spatial ambition and invention (and maybe even the chiaroscuro?) of the Lanfranco. Some people go for that, and some don’t.

By: Robert Linsley Thu, 10 Jul 2014 20:58:20 +0000 It’s true there are many stripe painters, and also true that it can be hard to distinguish between them. Originality means difference, but there is also the difference that makes a difference (to quote someone else!). Riley is distinctive enough in her later works that I think we can cut her some slack with the stripes.

There’s a lot to say about originality, meaning there’s a lot to say about how to go about making art, but sometimes I think what’s the point? Just get on with it.

By: John Pollard Thu, 10 Jul 2014 20:47:38 +0000 Robert, I’m surprised after talking about the importance of “originality” you are taken by………………’stripes’! And a “repetition of colours”?

By: Robert Linsley Thu, 10 Jul 2014 16:07:59 +0000 Each band has its own spatial uncertainty, but what I found to be a good entry to these works is that the stripes come in bundles or clumps and so the picture surface undulates in a larger rhythm than the individual stripe, if that is clear. And the repetition of colours across the surface is also nice.