Optical art has delighted, entertained, and befuddled people for decades. While many of the visual illusions stand up well in the digital realm, there's nothing like seeing optical art right there in front of your face. You may even want to take something home to enjoy in perpetuity. But before you purchase a piece of op art from a gallery, there are a few things that you should know.
Not All Kinetic Art Is Op Art
Optical art, like many forms of art, has a very loose definition. It has gone through movements, changes, and renaissances. As a subset of kinetic art, it's easy to group a lot of op art in with other pieces that trick the eye or illustrate movement. It's easy to confuse other movements, such as geometric abstractions, with op art as well.
You should, of course, choose whichever pieces move you. But if you're specifically looking for optical art, then you should know a little of what defines it.
- The art must be illusory
- It must be abstract or non-representational
- There must be positive and negative space
These are the things that define op art in general, but there are also pieces that incorporate op art into larger works.
Optical Art Transcends Mediums
Artists have traditionally created op art with paint and canvas, but there are other forms of optical art that exist as well. Many digital creations are out there, as well as physical art that fulfills the requirements of op art without being actual paintings.
Digital recreations and new art made digitally from scratch are fine if you want a print. However, these are probably not the kinds of artwork you're looking for.
Equally, the physical pieces are typically very large or more of a spectacle than traditional art. They're not ideal for a home and are typically grouped in with kinetic art. So when looking for optical art, look to galleries and other distributors of fine artwork.
Learn More About Op Art If You Plan To Collect
There's a difference between finding a piece that speaks to you and starting an op art collection. For the former, you will only need to find that which moves you to make a purchase.
For the latter, you will need to know something about the history of optical art. You will need to know more about the market and what makes a piece more valuable than another. In either case, you can start by doing some research and visiting some art galleries that feature op art. For more information, check out your local optical art gallery.