Bridget Riley, Cataract 3, 1967. British Council Collection

32. Cataract 3

ArtistBridget Riley
MediumPolyvinyl acetate on canvas
Dimensions8738 × 8734 in. (221.9 × 222.9 cm)
CollectionBritish Council Collection

Cataract 3 belongs to a series in which the curve, rather than the straight line, offers a distinct mode of interaction between colors. As Riley explains, “When colours are twisted along the rise and fall of a curve, their juxtapositions change continually.” Curves with increased saturations of green, red, and turquoise, tempered by gray at the painting’s edges, contrast with each other in a regular rhythm, building to a crescendo of red at the center. Describing her process, Riley writes, “There are innumerable sequences, each of which throws up a different sensation. From these I build up clusters which then flow into each other almost imperceptibly.” The effect, she adds, “is of a sudden flood of bright colour.”