Art Term

Op art

Op art was a major development of painting in the 1960s that used geometric forms to create optical effects

Bridget Riley, ‘Untitled [Fragment 5/8]’ 1965
Bridget Riley
Untitled [Fragment 5/8] 1965
© Bridget Riley 2014. All rights reserved, courtesy Karsten Schubert, London

The effects created by op art ranged from the subtle, to the disturbing and disorienting.

Op painting used a framework of purely geometric forms as the basis for its effects and also drew on colour theory and the physiology and psychology of perception. Leading figures were Bridget Riley, Jesus Rafael Soto, and Victor Vasarely. Vasarely was one of the originators of op art. Soto’s work often involves mobile elements and points up the close connection between kinetic and op art.

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selected artists in the collection


Bridget Riley

born 1931

Victor Vasarely


selected artworks in the collection

op art at tate

Tate Britain Exhibition

Bridget Riley

26 Jun – 28 Sep 2003
Tate Liverpool Exhibition