Introduction to Op art

High School ・Art ・MLA ・6 Sources


Op art is an art style where artists use optical illusion to try to create an impression of a picture as if it is in motion. This art originates from the geometric art (Parola, 10). During its early years, in the mid-1960s, artists like Victor Vasarely, Bridget Riley, Frank Stella and Josef Albers participated in the movement. Bridget Riley has beautiful paintings, and she is usually referred to as the Queen of Optical Art, but the question is should the paintings be considered as a fine masterpiece of art or just as framed wallpaper with several colors?

Bridget Riley also known as Bridget Louise Riley CBE is a very popular Op art artist she was born on April 24, 1931, in London, England. Her childhood life had rotated between Cornwall and Lincolnshire before she attended Cheltenham Ladies’ College in Gloucestershire. She started studying art at Goldsmiths College and later joined the Royal College of Art in the years ranging from 1949 to 1955. Riley’s early work consisted mainly of figurative subjects and landscapes, adopting an Impressionistic style. Her work also consisted of geometric abstractions intricate with white and block patterns which were later alternated to produce movement and topography. She worked as a teacher at the Loughborough School of Art in 1959 and later at Hornsey School of Art. She also worked at the Croydon School of Art between 1962 and 1964. She gave up her job at for J. Walter Thompson Advertising in London where she was working as an illustrator in 1964 and started exploring the elements of optical phenomena (Dunn, Para. 6). She was granted her first solo exhibition in 1962 by Victor Musgrave of Studio One in London.

Cataract 3 is one of Bridget Riley’s artwork created in 1967. It consists of a pair of colored stripes unfolded like ribbons across a white canvas, broadening and thinning in superficial curvilinear sequences lines. The edges are profuse, and there is maximum chromatic interaction. The colors are vermilion and turquoise. The curves surge diagonally, making an illusion of south-west wind blowing across silk light clothing. On another level light sizzle at different speeds and in an undetected direction (Faruqee, Para. 5).

Pigmentation on the painting is transformed into an active speculation, such that when the painting is viewed a bright spectral light various colors are seen. Cataract 3 reveals the clouding of the eye’s lens. There is the use of chromatic contrasts towards the center of the painting. The contrasts heighten leaving an impression of radiant cover between the upper and the lower curves. Riley uses lines to bring and create texture (Ruhrberg and Ingo, 157). The idea of a visual loop is brought out clearly where the eye is guided and then tripped up.

The painting was motivated by Riley’s discovery of color. She wanted to interoperate the idea of color into her work.” The music of color that is what I want.” The kind of movement brings a soothing experience as Riley hoped it could. The entire painting contains movement letting the viewer to get influenced. Cataract 3 is a multifocal masterpiece revealed in an oculist cataract i.e. the use of the clouding eye lenses.

The work is impossible to see for what it is; the brain is tricked into perceiving its waves and colors as a reversion, an existing surface. The weave of the canvas is evident, and the paint application is straightforward. She presented pre-planning carefully in the painting considering and revising colors, scale and composition. The surface of the painting is sober, dry and mates (Gottlieb, 134).
In conclusion, Bridget Riley is the queen of visual art. Other painters more often use her unique paintings work through the improvisation and gesture. She has inspired the art industry by her exclusive paintings. She first developed an interest in optical art was influenced by her teacher, Maurice de Sausmarez who was also a painter (Zwirner, Para. 6)

Work cited

Dunn, Daisy. "Bridget Riley: a biography." The pioneering British contemporary painter. N.p., 2010. Web.Faruqee, Anoka. Anoka Faruqee on Bridget Riley N.P., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.
Gottlieb, Lisa. Graffiti Art Styles: A Classification System and Theoretical Analysis. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2008.
Parola, Rene. Optical Art: Theory and Practice. New York: Dover Publications, 1996. Print.
Ruhrberg, Karl, and Ingo F. Walther. Art of the 20th Century. Köln: Taschen, 2000. Print.
Zwirner, David. "Bridget Riley biography." N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

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