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Transcript of OP ART
What-Definition & Media
Why-Goals of Movement
Origins: What were the "Big Questions"?
The Father of Op Art
How Op Art Works Continued...
Legacy of Op Art
During the golden years of Op art, the "mod look" was the latest fashion trend. A time where bob haircuts were in and miniskirts were on the rise.
How Op Art Works
Table of Contents
The Mother of Op Art
Movement in Squares, 1961
Cataract 3, Bridget Riley, 1967
There have been many reproductions of "Zebras" and its very difficult to validate their authenticity. This series is considered the turning point of his career; when he evolved into optical art. Many consider Vasarely's Zebra, 1937 to be the very beginning of Op art.
Blaze, Bridget Riley, 1964
5Ws of Movement
Positive & Negative Space
Op art is a form of abstract art that gives the illusion of movement on a 2-dimensional surface by using precise patterns and colors, or utilizing conflicting patterns that emerge and overlap
Commonly used Media:
- Gouache on cardboard
- Oil or acrylic paint on canvas
- Screen print on paper
-Flourished in late 1950's to early 1960’s
- The catalyst of the movement's success was 1965, when the Museum of Modern Art exhibited the movement in:
The Responsive Eye
. This was when
coined the name Op art
- To produce effects that confuse, fool and excite the eye along with creating an illusion of movement
- Hope to attract wide public and integrate modern art into society in a new way
- abstract patterns with a contrast of foreground and background (positive & negative space), it is often produced in black and white shades for maximum contrast
- utilizes colour groupings which affected the spaces between them to produce fleeting glimpses of other colours and enhances the optical illusion
Perception is Relative
Origins of Op Art
Bauhaus Art - Geometric Form
Kinetic Art - Movement
The "Big Question"
Bauhaus was an applied art and architectural school in Germany.
The style employed the use of geometric shapes, and abandoned teacher student relationships for more open environment for all artists.
Kinetic art was inspired by the Dadaism, with Marcel Duchamp's "Bicycle Wheel" in 1913 and dealt with real or illusionary motion.
This brought new life from traditional static art and opened doors to the potential of what art can be. Artists like Jean Tinguley began creating mechanical movement often shown as a kinetic sculpture
However, by the mid-1960s Kinetic art had reached its peak. This lead to the question "How to create motion on a 2D plane?"
Hence, artists like Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley whom were apart of this movement had a profound interest in experimenting with the visual capabilities of op art.
Vasarely was a medical student until 1927, when he decided to pursue art at Muhely Academy in Budapest; the centre for Bauhaus teachings.
Created the art programming language known as “alphabet plastique” (fine arts alphabet), which was a grid system that combined with shapes and 20 hues to create an infinite number of compositions.
Alphabet VB, 1960
Bicycle Wheel, 1913
"Focusing isn't just an optical activity, it is also a mental one."
- Bridget Riley
A lot of the success of Op art is dependent on the artist’s precision in the contrast of light and dark in their art work as well as the context.
When light enters the eye, it focuses on at the back layer of our eye known as the retina consists of receptors.
Op art revolved around fooling our perception .
The aim of Op art was to create motion that existed on a 2D plane.
The creation of these illusions would alter the viewer's reality, since they provide an alternative reality where motion exists without actual "motion".
Op art wanted people to look at it in a revolutionary new way, not only in the context of motion of 2D but also having putting the context of art into everyday society.
The style was to be bold, but simplistic; hence the geometric patterning of Op art perfectly complimented the trend. Op art was the newest craze and it appeared everywhere; from advertisements, design, furniture and of course fashion.
The Disappearance of Op Art?
Op Art began losing popularity in the later 60s as the geometric appeal gave way to natural floral prints and nude colors. However, the art movement continues to impact us today, especially in fashion.
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Bridget Riley studied at the Royal College of Art in 1952 – 1955. There, her studies were mainly on life drawing and black and white shades.
In 1960, she took a part time teaching career at Hornsey College of Art, where she began her first Op art paintings in black and white.
Riley’s paintings got International notice when she exhibited along with Victor Vasarely and other Op artists in 'The Responsive Eye' Exhibit at MoMA.
Riley introduced colour in her work in 1967 and in her paintings of the late 1960s and 70s she became mainly concerned with the visual and emotional response to colour.
Zing 1, 1971
M C Escher