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Op art
Op art

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The power of optical illusion

This is a type of abstract art that makes use of optical effects and the power of repetition. Thus the name 'Op' is really aBuy Original Op Art reference to the optical values inherit in this artistic style. The obsession with repetitions is usually associated with the time of this styles mergence; very close to the invention of Pop Art in the 1960's. Op art pieces are often constructed of several mechanisms that repeat the same movement and the paintings follow this same logic- images of repetitious monotony in back and white strips all sharply elongated to create the illusion of real movement. These 'strips' are kept carefully distinct and seem to vibrate before the viewers eyes. Unlike the Kinetic artists, who actually made art works that moved or vibrated, the Op artists strove to give the illusion of motion without actual motion in play. It capitalizes on all the natural tendencies of human perspective and physiology that we live with, unknowingly, on a daily basis.


The work of Victor Vasarely:

The famous painter of this style was Hungarian born Victor Vasarely, who had been employing optical effects in his work since the 30's. He claimed that in a world becoming so technologically advanced, it would be arts function to impress meaning upon its audience not through the various techniques and tools of personal, artistic expression. In some proximity to the eventual emergence of the Pop art scene, art as a mechanical endeavor would lose much of its meaning for Vasarely. Art, he believed, would have to lose the personal identifying marks of the artists who made it, and would become far more a consumer item; a template to be duplicated again and again. He usually depicted very symmetrical balances, either through the balance of two contrasting colors, or using a compositional theme that juxtaposed to elements against each other. Geometric shapes of varying color or texture held a composition on the canvas, enacting an old ritual of harmony and simple equilibrium. The overall effect is quieting and rather soothing in most of the work, the artist is putting you at ease and the quiet tension that these shapes have between them is a subtle allegory of true motion.

In contrast to Vasarely, other Op artists were not so engaged in creating harmonic balances of apparent motion. The British artist Bridget Riley deliberately chooses compositions that emote such a convincing illusion of movement that the viewer is left disoriented. Curving, wave-like shapes blur into each other, despite the exact, polished method with which they were applied- there is a rippling effect that almost carries through a little after the painting is no longer in your frame of sight. Some younger artists that experimented in similar optical effects were Peter Sedgley and the Venezuelan born artist Jesus-Raphael Soto.


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