The best of Bridget Riley comes to Edinburgh

Two Grecian temples which epitomise the Athens of the North are the Royal Scottish Acadrmy and the National Gallery, with a third, albeit incomplete, nearby Calton Hill in Edinburgh.

Architectual masterpieces where Edinburgh’s Old Town and New Town come together, designed by Henry William Playfair in the early 19th century, they left a problem of no-where to expand, solved by going downwards with John Miller & Partners’ extension joining the two buildings, opened in 2004 though there had been proposals developed in the 1980′s.  This extension itself is currently under refurbishment to create the new main entrance to the two buildings.

Visitors arriving on the tram from the airport on a dricht damp day have their spirits lifted by with the classical columns of the Royal Scottish Academy decorated in a variety of colours, brightening up Princes Street.  How the architectural purists must hate it!

Inside is an excellent overview of Bridgit Riley’s life and work, with several works that I had not seen before, including the amazing three-dimensional ‘Continuum’, on display in the fine neoclassical galleries and in the more intimate space on the lower floor. It was also good to see a gallery of preparatory studies and sketches for many of her larger works, and also a fascinating and personal display of her early work, including – unexpectedly – figure drawings and sketches of family and friends.
Born in 1931, Riley’s career as an artist took off in the 1960′s with her characteristic flowing geometric works which appear to move in front of your eyes. Changing her style over the years, she is still going strong, with a recent installation at the National Gallery in London.
  • Royal Scottish Academy
  • Black & White paintings
  • Cascando
  • Continuum 1
  • Continuum 2
  • Ra
  • From Here
  • Lagoon 2
  • Rajasthan
  • Measure for Measure 13
  • Sketches and Studies
  • Drawings

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