Composition II, serigraph, c 1970 (source)

Cassiopee II

Cassiopée II NB, acrylic on canvas, 1958 (source)

MOTION3 - Untitled composition

Untitled composition, (source)


Zebra painting, 1937 (source)

For whatever reason Op art never featured prominently in my art history classes. If you did a pop quiz on me now, I might recognize a few slides but I wouldn’t recall a single name associated with the genre. I don’t know if my teachers didn’t like it or simply didn’t have the time but somehow this movement was always given a mere glance over. Not that I was too intrigued anyway.

The other day though, I discovered Victor Vasarely and while reading his bio realized there was a lot to relate to from my current context of interests in geometry, computing and art. Vasarely began his education in science and medicine, making an abrupt switch into art a few years later. Inevitably, the objective nature of scientific method made its way into his artistic practice where he developed methodical systems for rendering his graphic paintings — “an art programming language that allowed for endless permutations of forms and colours to create individual and unique works” (source). He might be known as the father of Op art, but it would be hard for me to ignore the roots of generative digital art in his work as well.

Oh and his paintings are massive. Next time I’m in the south of France, Fondation Vasarely in Aix-en-Provence would certainly be a worthwhile visit.




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