An early practitioner of Op Art, a movement that emerged in the mid-1960s and prioritized optical illusionism, Edna Andrade (1917 – 2008) used geometry and color to create abstract interpretations of organic ratios, biological systems, and natural rhythms. Summer Game (1972) features a vibrant palette and an irregular grid that appears to expand and contract, project, and recede, creating a sense of playful, kinetic energy.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
In 1960, Toshinobu Onosato reevaluated his approach to the circle, a form that for much of the previous decade he had presented as monochromatic surfaces whose simplicity was emphasized by surrounding webs of intersecting lines.
Painting A, Detail
According to the artist, dividing the circle through the “the piling up of color planes” allows for better understanding of the shape’s true dimensions. Born from a desire to capture brightness and harmony, works such as Painting A (1961 – 62) vibrate with energy that relates to — but remains separate from — the illusory effects sought by Op artists.
Photographed as part of the exhibit The Fullness of Color: 1960’s Paintings at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan
We were very sad to learn of the passing of groundbreaking painter and Op Art pioneer, Julian Stanczak on March 25th of this year. He had good, long life! As a last hurrah, Mitchell-Innes & Nash is currently hosting The Life of the Surface, Paintings, 1970 – 1975, an exhibition of Stanczak’s paintings exclusively from the years 1970 to 1975. This long-planned exhibition is Mitchell-Innes & Nash’s second solo exhibition with the artist, and the first since his recent passing.
Red + Red
Red + Red, Detail
Stanczak’s reverence for color comes from a desire to translate the drama and power of nature into a universal impression. His canvases are created through a complex process of tape masks upon which colors are systematically added and unveiled in layers. Despite the intricate and painstaking process, Stanczak does not use any preparatory drawings for his paintings, relying solely on his own vision of a finished work.
Detail from Above Painting
The artist’s work transcends traditional nods to analytical painting methods often associated with this period by drawing upon personal experiences, particularly the diverse places he has lived. Utilizing tromp l’oeil characteristics, Stanczak’s paintings engender the vibration of a distinct visual experience from within the surface of the canvas.
In works like Filtration- Opposing to Red (1974-77) the color radiates from the center, vibrating across the surface of the canvas. The light oscillates and encompasses the viewer, creating an engaging and thoughtful experience with color. While the intensity is similar, the cool tones of Soft Light (1972-73) resonate at a gradual pace and generate a calmer energy. The artist described his titles as “provocative of the experience that parallels [his] initial response,” rather than direct descriptions.
Julian Stanczak’s body of work is awe-inspiring and unique. Whether you’re already a fan, or if you’ve never seen his work in person, now is the time to check him out.
Julian Stanczak’s The Life of The Surface, Paintings 1970 – 1975 will be on Exhibit Through June 24th, 2017 at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Located at 534 West 26th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.
I had the most amazing time at the Architectural Digest Design Show a few weeks back, and photographed so many great pieces that will eventually end up in this blog. Here’s one of them: a liquor cabinet designed by Zelouf + Bell that was inspired by the fabulous Op Art of painter Bridget Riley — and you know how much we love her here at The Gig.
Do you enjoy the fabulous Op Art images of legendary British painter Bridget Riley? I sure do. Bridget Riley is so cool, the retro-pop project Death By Chocolate even wrote a song about her. Fabulous. Bridget is 84 now, but still rocking a paintbrush, and I got to meet her recently at the opening reception for her current exhibit over at David Zwirner. You need to check it out.
This new show is the gallery’s first exhibition with Bridget Riley in New York, her first show in the city since 2007, and the only New York presentation since Bridget Riley: Reconnaissance at the Dia Center for the Arts in 2000 to feature new and older works. The exhibition marks fifty years since Riley’s participation in The Responsive Eye at The Museum of Modern Art, the highly influential group show which led to instant, international recognition for the young British painter. Last year, David Zwirner hosted her inaugural show at the London gallery, which was a major survey of her stripe paintings from 1961 to 2014.
One of the most significant living artists, Riley’s work has radically explored the active role of perception in art, using the interrelationship between line and color to convey movement and light within the pictorial field. From the early 1960s, the artist has employed elementary shapes — such as circles, stripes, and curves — to create visual experiences that actively engage the viewer, testing the limits of each element at various stages throughout her career.
This exhibition includes paintings and works on paper spanning almost thirty-five years of Riley’s practice. It takes its chronological point of departure in vertical stripe works from the early 1980s featuring her “Egyptian palette” inspired by the artist’s trip to Egypt in late 1979, which unlike previous combinations of color was organized according to plastic (and not rational) principles. These asymmetrical compositions anticipated the ensuing diagonal grid paintings that Riley began in 1986. Featuring rhomboid shapes that break up the picture plane, these in turn became the foundation for her curved paintings in the late 1990s.
Vertical, curvilinear shapes prevailed in the past decade and also characterize her wall painting Rajasthan (2012), a composition of intersecting forms in green, gray, orange, and red whose presentation here marks its first display outside of Europe.
The exhibition culminates with Riley’s most recent stripe works as well as a new series of black-and-white paintings that explore concavity and convexity of the line, all shown here for the first time. The return to painting in black and white, which she had abandoned in the mid-1960s in order to explore the properties of color, was directly inspired by Riley’s 1962 painting Tremor, and here appears in the current context of five decades of work.
Bridget Riley will be on Exhibit Through December 19th, 2015 at David Zwirner Gallery, Located at 525 and 533 West 19th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Victor Vasarely (April 9th, 1906 – March 15th, 1997), was a Hungarian–French artist, who is widely accepted as a leader of the Op Art movement. During the 1960s and ’70s, his optical images became part of the popular culture, having a deep impact on architecture, computer science, fashion, and the way we now look at things in general. Even though he achieved great fame, he insisted on making his art accessible to everyone. His motto was “Art for all”.
The breakthrough brought by his kinetic visual experiments transformed the flat surface into a world of unending possibilities, book marking an era in the history of art and foreshadowing a new global reality shaped by programming and the Internet. Ondho (oil on canvas, 1956 – 60) was painted during a span of time when he worked on serveral different series including Folklore Planétaire, Permutations and Serial Art.
You can learn more about the fascinating life and groundbreaking career of Victor Vasarely by visiting his official website, Vasarely Dot Com, and be sure to watch the very trippy intro!
Victor Vasarely’s Ondho is part of the Permanent Collection at the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown Manhattan.
I don’t think I could count the number of times I overheard someone mention how much the paintings of Julian Stanczak reminded them of Op Art pioneer Bridget Riley while we cruised around the opening reception for From Life, Stanczak’s new exhibit over at Mitchell-Innes & Nash. Trust me: it was a lot – and I was thinking the same thing.
But a little research on my part revealed that the term Op Art actually first appeared in print in Time Magazine in October 1964 in response to Stanczak’s Optical Paintings exhibit at the Martha Jackson gallery. Crazy!
Now at age 86, Julian Stanczak – a former student of Joseph Albers, whose early life was marked by enormous personal struggle – serves as a true artistic and personal inspiration with his first solo exhibition at M-I & N, which includes a dozen large-scale paintings spanning the artist’s career from the 1960s to the present and includes works not seen publically in decades.
Stanczak’s canvases are created through a complex process of tape masks in which colors are systematically added and unveiled in layers. While incredibly methodical, Stanczak works alone on his canvases without the aid of preliminary sketches, relying solely on his own vision of a finished work.
A Detail from the Above Painting is Below.
This is even more impressive when you know that Stanczak lost the complete use his of right arm after confinement in a Siberian hard labor camp during World War II.
Julian Stanczak, Photographed in front of Additional, at the Show’s Opening Reception on October 30th.
The artist makes the surface plane of the painting vibrate through his use of lines and contrasting colors, but what I want to really emphasize is how these paintings look completely different to the naked eye than they do when seen through the lens of a camera. The observable transformation is really quite remarkable.
In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that these paintings are mind-blowing.
Very highly recommended!
Julian Stanczak’s From Life will be on Exhibit Through December 6th, 2014 at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Located at 534 West 26th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.