Optical Illusions: Geometry, Color, and Movement

TJC Gallery, Spartanburg, South Carolina
January 18, 2018 – March 26, 2018

Optical Illusions: Geometry, Color, and Movement showcases how twentieth-century artists manipulated human senses through hue, light, and spatial relationships to create complex visual experiences for audiences. Dubbed “Op Art,” these abstract images seem to swell, vibrate, or recede before one’s very eyes, and reflect the psychedelic sensibility that merged technology and psychology in the 1960s. Widely popular in that decade of aesthetic experimentation, Op Art can trace its origins to Germany’s Bauhaus tradition of the 1920s and 1930s. A school of the European avant-garde, the Bauhaus stressed rationality and innovation, and often emphasized simplified geometric forms. Former Bauhaus artists such as Josef and Anni Albers explored the limits of perception through the dynamic juxtaposition of bold colors and high contrast black-and-white lines. Before its decline in the 1970s, Op Art found platforms in major museum exhibitions, as well as the retail marketplace of t-shirts and posters. With works that are both decorative and scientific by such artist as Robert Courtright, Philip Mullen, Oli Sihvonen, Sewell Sillman, John Urbain, and Jack Youngerman, this exhibition is an interactive encounter that will trick the eye and deceive the brain through a plethora of optical stimuli, ultimately blurring the line between science and art.