- Optic Nerve: Perceptual Art of the 1960sBy Joe Houston, Dave Hickey
- Psychedelic: Optical and Visionary Art since the 1960sOur PickBy David Rubin
- Optical Art: Theory and PracticeBy Rene Parola
- Victor Vasarely: 1906-1997; Pure VisionBy Magdalena Holzhey
- Bridget RileyBy Paul Moorhouse
- Art Since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism, Vol. 1: 1900-1944Our PickBy Hal Foster, Rosalind Krauss, Yve-Alain Bois, Benjamin H.D. Buchloh
- Op Art Coloring BookBy Jean Larcher
- Op Art and Visual IllusionsBy Spyros Horemis
Important Art and Artists of Op Art
In this optical illusion, Albers experiments with the perception of space by depicting how an arrangement of simple lines can create an ambiguous sense of spatial depth. The black rectangular shapes intersect each other from various angles to disorient the viewer's perception of what is in front and what is behind. Even though the forms are not stylistically rendered, the viewer interprets the image as having unstable dimensions. Albers rejected the label "Op art," and his background in the Bauhaus inclined him to be interested in a very rational investigation of the effects of color, yet he never ruled out the usefulness and interest of tricking the eye.
The zigzag black and white lines in Blaze create the perception of a circular decent. As the brain interprets the image, the alternating pattern appears to shift back and forth. The interlocking lines add depth to the form as it rhythmically curves around the center of the page. The curator Joe Houston has argued that works such as Blaze "trigger in the viewer an experience equivalent to an atmospheric electric charge; not an illusion, but an "event." Riley herself has said, "My work has developed on the basis of empirical analyses and syntheses, and I have always believed that perception is the medium through which states of being are directly experienced."
The contrasting warm and cool shades here create the ambiguous illusion of three-dimensional structures. Are they concave, or convex? The illusion is so effective that we are almost led to forget that it is a painted image, and made to think it is a volumetric construction. Although black and white delivered perhaps the most memorable Op images, color also intrigued many Op artists. The scientific study of color had been central to teaching at the Bauhaus, and Vasarely certainly benefited from his education at what was often called the "Budapest Bauhaus." Bauhaus teachers such as Joseph Albers encouraged students to think not of the associations or symbolism of colors, which had so often been important in art, but simply of the effects they had on the eye.