NORMAN — “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.”
Op artists explored the principles of perception through the use of line, color and light, thus creating an optical illusion. Any artwork that suggests a three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface is an illusion, but Op artists use abstract shapes and line to produce optical sensations free of subject matter.
The student curators were involved in planning the exhibition, which included selecting works for display, conducting research, writing and designing a gallery guide and an original logo for the exhibit.
“Into the Void” will remain on view through July 28 in the museum's Ellen and Richard L. Sandor Photography Gallery. Admission to the museum is free to all visitors, thanks to a gift from the OU Athletics Department.
For more information, call 325-3272 or go to www.ou.edu/fjjma.