Transcript Op Art

Op Art

( Art that focuses on Optical Illusion )

“Op” Art originated around the 1950’s. In the 60’s, there was great social and political change. Through antiwar protests, the civil rights movement, and the fight for women’s rights (suffrage).

Shifting politics brought about an “anything goes” attitude. This time overturned traditional values which called for a kind of art that questioned “perception” as well.

“Tricks” to help you see movement and other optical illusions in “Op Art”

• • • • • Blur your vision.

Focus on one section of the art work. You might see something in your “peripheral” vision.



Stand and take a step or two closer to the art work.

The following images were created by Op Artist Bridget Riley , who used line, shape, spacing and color to create visual movement in her work. Our eyes are always moving, we can’t consciously stop it, so we can’t help but look “around” at everything in these works of art. Think of your “peripheral” vision.

Gallery “Docent”

During an Op Art exhibition at the Albright-Knox, the gallery docent (someone trained to give gallery tours with information about the works) informed the audience that some viewers who suffered from motion sickness had to leave the exhibit due to the movement in Riley’s paintings.

Optical illusions effect visual perception. Visual movement often occurs through use and placement of line, shape and color. Most op art is “non-objective” or “abstract”. This means that nothing in the work is recognizable as anything other than shapes.

“Hatpin Urchin” by artist Kitaoka shows the importance of eye movement in the perception of kinetic illusion.

“Concentric Squares 2” Robin Hunnam (2012)

“Simultaneous Contrast”:

An optical process in which contrasting one color with another affects how we see both colors. The following slide is called “Orange Crush” (1963) by artist Larry Poons. The painting is 80” x 80” and hangs in our very own Albright-Knox Art Gallery . Stare at the painting for a few minutes and then look away. What do you see? Most people see orange dots

“Orange Crush” by Larry Poons, 1963

Probably the most famous “Op Art” painting hangs in the Albright-Knox. “Vega Nor” by Victor Vasarely (1969) 78¾” x 78 ¾ inches. The illusion of the round sphere makes us question our perception.

The End