many of bridget riley's stripe paintings are currently on show at david zwirner. riley directed the installation of the entire gallery space and this is the first time i have seen her paintings installed in a way that gives the viewer enough space to see them correctly. the lighting, some of which is natural, is mostly excellent. her work is often interpreted as being about creating optical illusions because it is apparently mechanical and banally decorative—in fact, it is distinctive, thought-provoking, and manually intensive. to produce something by hand is to be exposed to the minor modulations and irregularities that characterise hand work (and which are usually absent from work executed entirely by machine)—a topic on which david pye was eloquent and penetrating. producing work whose effect on the viewer is almost entirely dependent on the perfect execution of precise spacings is one thing. combining that apparent mechanical precision with the liveliness and particularity of manual application is another.
at david zwirner in london, until july 25.