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 2018. All rights reserved.
Tate Liverpool Exhibition

Op Art in Focus

Until 5 Jul 2020

A dazzling display from pioneering artists of the 1960s to today

Free entry

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

selected artworks in the collection

Bridget Riley Cantus Firmus


Victor Vasarely Banya


Peter Sedgley Colour Cycle III


Jesus Rafael Soto Twelve Blacks and Four Silvers


op art at tate

Tate Britain Exhibition

Bridget Riley

26 Jun – 28 Sep 2003
Bridget Riley exhibition at Tate Britain 2003
Tate St Ives Exhibition

The Indiscipline of Painting: International abstraction from the 1960s to now

8 Oct 2011 – 3 Jan 2012
'The Indiscipline of Painting' at Tate St Ives is an international group exhibition including works by forty-nine artists from the ...
Tate Liverpool Exhibition

Formal Situations: Abstraction in Britain 1960–1970: Free Entry

5 Apr – 5 Oct 2003
Formal Situations: Abstraction in Britain 1960–1970 past exhibition at Tate Liverpool 2003