Bridget Riley: ‘We Cannot Quite See” A Lecture by Dr. Richard Shiff – Thursday, April 10, 5:30 pm

Spring 2014

INSIGHTS: The UNM Art Museum Distinguished Lecture Series

Thursday, April 10, 5:30 pm

Bridget Riley: “We Cannot Quite See”

a lecture by

Dr. Richard Shiff, Professor, Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art, and Director, Center for the study of Modernism, Department of Art and Art History, The University of Texas at Austin

The lecture will take place in the Clinton Adams Gallery

During Bridget Riley’s formative years of the late 1950s and early 1960s, it was common for artists, critics, and historians to argue the merits of art that explored formal composition versus art that explored concepts and themes. Roughly put, the argument was between aesthetic form and social content. But Bridget Riley found this polar op- position irrelevant; she created art of a third term, still not fully defined. She is among the select number of radically innovative artists of the past century. To stand before Riley’s paintings is to experience one’s own perceptual failure. For decades, her art has succeeded in resisting pictorial order and composition as we know it. We can neither focus on nor analyze the details of her paintings without the “eye’s mind” (Riley’s phrase) being pulled one way or another, stretched and tested to its human limits. Dr. Shiff’s scholarly interests range broadly across the field of modern and contemporary art and theory, with publications that include Between Sense and de Kooning (2011).

Funding for this lecture series is generously provided in part by the Department of Art and Art History and by the Allene H. and Walter P. Kleweno Lecture Series Fund.

Bridget Riley, Hidden Squares, 1961; emulsion on board; 36 1/4 x 36 1/4 inches; Gift of Vernon Nikkel, Clovis, New Mexico, in memory of Frank F. Nikkel, Anna Zielke Nikkel, Ruth Nikkel, Irene Nikkel Hutchinson, Martha Nikkel Critelli, and Ralph Jacob Critelli; © Bridget Riley 2013. All rights reserved, courtesy Karsten Schubert, London; Photo by Margot Geist