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Looking at art in an offbeat way

OU students explore world of op-art
FROM STAFF REPORTS Published: February 5, 2013

— “Into the Void,” an art exhibit featuring 1960s Op art that was curated by six University of Oklahoma art students, opens Saturday at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm. The printmaking exhibit features images that explore optical illusions and abstract art.

The art, which is part of the museum's permanent collection, features works by such varied artists as Victor Vasarely, Bridget Riley and Richard Anuskiewicz. They are among the founding members of the Optical Art movement that originated in the mid-1950s. By 1964, the name was shortened to Op art.

“The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art has had wonderful success with exhibitions curated by OU School of Art and Art History students in recent years,” said Ghislain d'Humieres, museum director.

“As a university museum, student collaborations not only promote student interaction with the museum's collections, it also gives viewers a unique perspective into the minds of students. This visually stimulating exhibition will surely be popular with visitors of all ages.”

The Op art movement grew out of a counterculture that developed out of distrust for authoritarian control. Artists were equally suspicious of authoritative or artistic control in regard to the meaning of a work of art. To avoid that perceived symbolism, Op artists employed mathematical formulas and geometric forms that were customarily devoid of prescribed meaning.

“We selected Op art for the ‘Into the Void' exhibition because it is not only a very eye-catching style, but it is a style whose history and purpose is not common knowledge,” said Theresa Hultberg, a studio arts major from Oklahoma City. “We believed it was a great opportunity to give optical art a rebirth of sorts, to possibly spark new interest from the creative community for the Op art movement.”

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