01 December 2009

Living in a parallel universe

As the title of this blog suggests, we're all about words here, however tenuous the link may sometimes be. We don't often do maths; it's not really our strong point. But every now and again, we like to make an exception. Mix it up a bit. Keep you on your toes.

So today's lesson is all about geometry. The weekend before last, I'd been enjoying the Bridget Riley painting with the wibbly-wobbly edges in the permanent collection at Manchester Art Gallery, so I decided to check out a bit more of her stuff while I had the chance: Bridget Riley Flashback is currently on at Liverpool's Walker Art Gallery, and runs until 13 December.

I'm glad I bothered to make the trip coastwards: I wasn't disappointed. I'm a fan of optical illusions, and the effect of Riley's work on your eyes and brain is both mesmerising and disorientating. The exhibition isn't vast, but accompanying the finished artworks is a handful of sketches on graph paper and mock-ups using paper-weaving techniques, and these serve to offer an extra dimension to the retrospective, along with a fascinating insight into the meticulous, almost mathematical, methods behind Riley's compositions.

Ecclesia, 1985, Bridget Riley Flashback. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London.
As well as optical illusions, I'm also a fan of stripes. I guess this is a given if you're going to a Bridget Riley exhibition under your own steam. Anyway, earlier that afternoon, I'd treated myself to a fantastic stripy plastic ring, all black and white and retro, and very Mary Quant, as me mam pointed out. It was something of a bargain, so imagine my delight when I found similar pieces in the gallery gift shop alongside the art cards and coffee table books accompanying the show. Fashion fabulous, darling!

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