Op Art at Tacoma Art Museum

 Norman Lundin, Studio Still Life: Two Jars and a Landscape, 1989. Oil on canvas, 40 1/8 x 48 inches. Tacoma Art Museum, Gift of Francine Seders.


Norman Lundin, Studio Still Life: Two Jars and a Landscape, 1989. Oil on canvas, 40 1/8 x 48 inches. Tacoma Art Museum, Gift of Francine Seders.

No, there’s not a “p” missing from that title. It’s short for optical art, a genre of fine art that purposefully distorts the perceptions and viewpoints of the audience in order to challenge them toward new ways of seeing.

The Tacoma Art Museum’s brand new exhibit, Optic Nerve: The Art of Perception, highlights a variety of pieces from the museum’s own permanent collection that fall in the category of op art.

“By manipulating your eye, the works on view heighten your experience of looking at art,” said Margaret Bullock, Curator of Collections and Special Collections at the museum.

Many different kinds of art are on display for this exhibit, since a focus of op art is experimentation not just with color and content but form.
TAM’s exhibit features pieces from noted op artists Bridget Riley, Richard Anuszkiewicz, and Victor Vasarely as well as Northwest op artists Spencer Moseley and Francis Celentano. A few of these were essential names in the op art boom of the 60s, when the boldness and innovation of the movement impacted culture from design to fashion.

The exhibit runs until April 20, 2014, and there are a few events associated with it: On December 7, from 10 am to 1 pm, join a workshop at the museum to create your own illusory art. The same day, at 1:30 pm, you can attend a lecture titled “How We Experience Art” that will explore the effects of art on our bodies and minds.

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