I popped in today to the Bridget Riley exhibition at the David Zwirner gallery in Mayfair - warmly recommended, it's free and on until March 10th - and was thrilled to see that the artist herself was there. She is something of a hero of mine, and my father's. And I went up and thanked her for the pleasure and stimulation her work has given to the Whitehead family. She smiled broadly and seemed pleased. I was glad I seized the opportunity.
My father was a West Yorkshire businessman, but one of his main interests - at least for part of his adult life - was painting. He loved 'op art', where slight variations in shape or colour give movement to a canvas. He was much influenced by Victor Vasarely and by Bridget Riley. Sadly, he destroyed almost all his paintings - he was frustrated that they didn't quite achieve, visually and aesthetically, all he hoped for. But later in his life, he took to tapestry and returned to themes and designs which were very much in the op art tradition.
I was never much of an artist, but I like Bridget Riley's work and have sought out some of her exhibitions. She's now in her late eighties and still working. My son has a strong visual and design eye and he occasionally does what I would call op art, designed on the computer screen. It's the staple of his birthday and Christmas cards.
So that thread stretches through three generations. Thanks Bridget!
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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