Riley first attracted critical attention with the dazzling black and white paintings she began to make in 1961. These works became celebrated for their disturbing and disorientating optical effects (for which the term ‘Op Art’ was coined), as well as for their undeniable and surprising beauty. Her participation in the seminal exhibition, The Responsive Eye, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1965, established her as an artist of the first rank. This position was confirmed at the Venice Biennale in 1968 when she became the first British contemporary painter and the first woman to win the International Prize for painting.
AICA Critics Prize,1963
John Moores Painting Prize, 1963
International Painting Prize at the Venice Biennale, 1968
Riley became the first woman to receive the Sikkens Prize — a Dutch award that recognises use of colour — in 2012.