Catalogue entry

Eric H. Olson born 1909

T00792 Optochromi H8-1 1965

Inscribed 'Eric-H. Olson | Optochromi | H8-1', scratched into plastic base
Glass, aluminium and plastic, 17 1/4 x 6 x 3 3/4 (44 x 15 x 9.5)
Presented by the artist 1965
Repr: Michael Compton, Optical and Kinetic Art (London 1967), pl.9

The artist has written (30 October 1965): 'Optochromi is the term I have created to characterize my optical compositions. These compositions have purely visual functions. They are not to be regarded as paintings or sculptures. It is a medium to convey visions of the strange world of light ...

'The colour in the glass planes is the result not of any kind of pigment but of separation of waves of white light, an effect produced by a co-ordination of the polarization of light and double refraction-interference.

'Each glass plane is made into a lamellar glass, which contains polarizing and a double refractive substance, both of which are oriented in a molecular manner.'

Olson's 'Optochromi', the first of which date from 1962, comprise two parallel glass planes each with symmetrical bands treated as described above; the rectangular fields change in colour and configuration as the eye moves causing variations in the overlapping of the polarised and refractive materials.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.573-4, reproduced p.573