Artcyclopedia

Artists by Movement:
Optical Art

1950's to 1960's


Optical Art is a mathematically-themed form of Abstract art, which uses repetition of simple forms and colors to create vibrating effects, moiré patterns, foreground-background confusion, an exaggerated sense of depth, and other visual effects.
 
In a sense, all painting is based on tricks of visual perception: manipulating rules of perspective to give the illusion of three-dimensional space, mixing colors to create the impression of light and shadow, and so on. With Optical Art, the rules that the viewer's eye uses to try to make sense of a visual image are themselves the "subject" of the artwork.

In the mid-20th century, artists such as Victor Vasarely, Josef Albers and M.C. Escher experimented with Optical Art. Escher's work, although not abstract, deals extensively with various forms of visual tricks and paradoxes.
 
In the 1960's, the term "Op Art" was coined to describe the work of a growing group of abstract painters. This movement was led by Vasarely and Bridget Riley, and included such artists as Richard Anuszkiewicz, François Morellet and Jesús-Rafael Soto.
        

 
 
Chronological Listing of Optical Artists
 
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M.C. Escher 1898-1972 Dutch Illustrator
 
Victor Vasarely 1908-1997 Hungarian/French Painter
 
Jesus-Rafael Soto 1923-2005 Venezuelan Painter/Installation Artist
 
Kenneth Noland 1924-2010 American Painter
 
Francois Morellet Born 1926 French Painter/Sculptor
 
Yaacov Agam Born 1928 Israeli Painter/Sculptor
 
Julian Stanczak Born 1928 Polish/American Painter
 
Richard Anuszkiewicz Born 1930 American Painter
 
Bridget Riley Born 1931 British Painter
 
Claude Tousignant Born 1932 Canadian Painter
 
Guido Molinari 1933-2004 Canadian Painter
 
Lawrence Poons Born 1937 American Painter
 

 
 
 




 
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