Monkey Puzzle Quilt Block
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Arrangement of Small Pieces  
ANTIQUE GEOMETRIC QUILT DESIGNS * MONKEY PUZZLE
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Bridget Riley Pause
"PAUSE" (1964)
Bridget Riley (see Wikipedia)
Monkey Puzzle Grid
Quilt Notes: Why the name MONKEY PUZZLE assigned to this blocK? Maybe something to do with "monkey business." The monkey is the creature most ingenious and mischievous and apt to steal a banana or two. And the design is likewise a kind of "Robbing Peter to pay Paul" type of sleight of hand, swapping dark for light, whilst itself off-kilter, and seeming somewhat foolhardy or silly perhaps in its diagonal position. The original calls for alternating the tiling with plain blocks. The variation here uses half blocks, so as to allow for a geometrically briefer separation between the adjoining circles.

This is the same pattern as LILIAN'S FAVORITE, first published in 1906, Clara Stone, Practical Needlework. See Jinny Beyer's QUILTER'S ALBUM OF PATCHWORK PATTERNS (p.310-3) in the delightful "Two by Two Base Grid Category with Curved Elements" section — also Barbara Brackman's ENCYCLOPEDIA (#3188), where MONKEY'S PUZZLE is assigned to the "Equal Diagonal Division" category. If the design is rotated as a four-patch block, it is called FORE AND AFT (Nancy Cabot, 1936).

The current rendering is an Op Art stylization (see more at ARRANGEMENT OF SMALL PIECES) with its geometric eye-popping intensity — notice the extended, reverse-S curves in the tiling pattern below, similar to Bridget Riley's magnificent black and white PAUSE illustrated left — though Riley, a great colorist also (see here) and a founder of the dazzling geometric Op-Art movement, an offshoot of Modernism.

Compare at this site with:

A THOUSAND PYRAMIDS
DANCING CUBES
PATCHWORK PINES
ROBBING PETER TO PAY PAUL
MILKMAID'S STAR
ENTERTAINING MOTIONS
OLD CROW
 

Are Geometric Art Forms Subjective or Objective?
Comment by Bridget Riley (from THE EYE'S MIND)
"No matter what I do it will be subjective, and so to develop as much objectivity as I can, is simply counter-balancing this inevitable presence of myself in the work. De-personalization is, I think, a bogus hue and cry. When I was teaching children in classes of twenty or thirty I found that however much one set them a common problem, each child provided a different solution. I never found a uniformity of solution however strictly the problem was proposed. So I feel that if a group of artists were commissioned to make a series of paintings using triangles, every one of these works would be different because the decisions would have been taken by different people. It's the decisions that are important factors [....] But you must have something to decide about."
For more on Bridget Riley, see Women at the Easel 1540-1980.
See GIRL'S JOY for more designs celebrating women artists.
 
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