fri 25/09/2020

Bridget Riley: From Life, National Portrait Gallery | reviews, news & interviews

Bridget Riley: From Life, National Portrait Gallery

Bridget Riley: From Life, National Portrait Gallery

But can she draw? Sketches from the artist before she was famous

Bridget Riley: 'Boy with curly hair', early 1950s (red conté crayon on paper)© Bridget Riley
Forget about art “being about the idea” for a moment. Drawing from life is still considered by many to be the litmus test for proper artistic skill, or at least the foundation from which great art can arise. And so the enquiry, “But can he really draw?” is still one contemporary artists are confronted with by those not shy of asking what they consider an obvious question. And it has plagued abstract and modernist artists throughout the 20th century: the ability to draw figuratively as tradition dictates is so often seen as a benchmark from which everything else can be measured.
Forget about art “being about the idea” for a moment. Drawing from life is still considered by many to be the litmus test for proper artistic skill, or at least the foundation from which great art can arise. And so the enquiry, “But can he really draw?” is still one contemporary artists are confronted with by those not shy of asking what they consider an obvious question. And it has plagued abstract and modernist artists throughout the 20th century: the ability to draw figuratively as tradition dictates is so often seen as a benchmark from which everything else can be measured.

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