Perceptual art is concerned with the effects and processes of what, in this film, Bridget Riley calls 'the great privilege of sight.' 'Looking,' as she puts it, 'is a pleasure - a continual pleasure.' From the black and white paintings of the early 1960s which first established her international reputation, to her increasing concern with the self-generating luminosity of pure color, the film traces her 'exploration of the truth of what one can see.' In the studio, we see her working on a painting - finding that visual structure which from basic and simple elements will release complex effects of energy, movement, space, light and 'induced' color through the physical act of looking. Certain artists - Van Gogh, Seurat, Monet and the Futurists - are particularly important to her. But the film also shows the inspiration she has always drawn from certain types of visual experiences in nature. 'Painting,' as Bridget Riley says, 'has to obey the laws of painting.' But for her that is a process parallel to nature, dependent on our day-to-day experience of the joy of using our eyes.
Director/Writer: David Thompson Arts Council of Great Britain: