Bridget Riley, Black to White Discs, 1962. Courtesy of the artist

19. Black to White Discs

ArtistBridget Riley
MediumSynthetic emulsion on canvas
Dimensions70 x 70 in. (177.8 x 177.8 cm)
CollectionCourtesy of the artist

In this work, Riley moves away from solid black and white to explore, as she puts it, “tone in its purest sense.” Evenly spaced, identically sized disks form a diamond-shaped grid. Each row introduces a tonal gradation that shifts from light to dark or dark to light. By setting the darkest row off-center, Riley harnesses the unstable, shifting relationships between form and hue. The enlargement of the disks, which are larger than those in the small-scale study (cat. 18), has the perceptual effect of slowing down their movement.