The Art Of Optical Illusion & Home Decor

It takes a keen eye and curious mind to celebrate art, especially when it comes to Optical Art. Weaving a labyrinth of patterns, lines and shapes which are crafted to trick the eye, optical illusion relies heavily on the viewer’s ability to perceive patterns and flashes of movement as the visuals seem to magically swell and warp within the boundaries of its canvas. It is famously non-subjective and abstract in nature.

Optical Art: Weaving a labyrinth of patterns, lines and shapes which are crafted to trick the eye. ( Images Via Pinterest )

An Ever Evolving Art Form

The term ‘op-art’ was first used in 1964 by Time Magazine in context to artist Julian Stanczak’s Optical paintings which were being displayed at a New York Gallery. However, works produced by artists like Victor Vasaerly and John Mc-hale as early as the 1930s are classified as Op Art today.

The above work produced by Victor Vasaerly and John Mc-hale respectively before the 1950s is also broadly classified as optical art today however it was Julian Stanczak’s art ( featured below ) which led to coining of the term ‘Op Art’. His work below is an accurate depiction of the optical illusion niche which specifically relies on creating surface tension with shapes and lines. ( Images Via Pinterest )

Before Op Artists came into their own during the 1960s and 1970s, preceding art movements like Cubism, Futurism and Constructivism are said to have served as inspiration for the canvas. Such is the story of famous Op Artist Bridget Riley who credits French Artist Georges Seurat, responsible for devising a painting technique called Pointillism, where a collective of dots were used to create an entire work. In the same spirit, Bridget Riley describes her optical pieces as collectives of lines, circles, squares, triangles and other singular elements which come together to form mind bending visuals under her precise and systematic application.

Above ( Images Via Pinterest ) : The Clockwise evolution of op art featuring work from the Futurism and Constructivism Art movements, followed by Artist Georges Seurat’s Pointillism technique which later informed Bridget Riley’s op art work ( Images Via Pinterest )

Modern Day Revival And Home Decor

While Op Art saw its heyday during the 60s and 70s, with the current comeback of mid century modern design, a revived interest in op art inspired pieces is being observed across fashion, lifestyle and home decor spaces once again. Its popularity is heigned due to its abstract, minimal and non subjective nature, lending it a timeless and modern charm. Its focus on creating surface tension using basic geometric shapes resonates with the modern ideology of curating an experience for the viewer. Modern op artists like Bridget Riley and Victor Vasaerly have been able to thrive by continuing to keep this essence alive.

Above: Today, contemporary adaptations of optical art co-exist in modern spaces with other art counterparts of the mid century movement, adding juxtaposition and balance to an otherwise subdued or neutral palette ( Images Via Pinterest, Top Right image Via @whitewoodcanvas Instagram

The mid century era witnessed the use of op art inspired designs in home decor as well. Abstract geometric designs were especially popular as wallpapers and carpets and often featured contrasting bright colors which created a psychedelic illusion. However, the modern day adaptation is much more subdued and sophisticated in order to bring out the minimal and simplistic brilliance of the art form. This approach is also more fitting for urban dwellers who may prefer subtle pieces for everyday use. Today, this understated approach has fueled the creation of art inspired soft furnishings such as cushion covers, curtains, kitchen staples such as oven mitts and so much more.

Above: Incorporating Op Art into modern home decor. (Left Image and Bottom Via Pinterest, Right Image of Table Runner from VLiving)

Incorporating these pieces into the home is a chance for any homeowner to dip their toes into mid century modern design which opens up an avenue for curating a highly tasteful and evergreen living space.

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