Monday, January 14, 2008

teaching an op art class at the Figge Art Museum

Karin davie

back when i was finishing up my BFA, working at the university's art gallery, my boss / gallery director Barry Blinderman curated a show called "post-hypnotic." the works in the exhibition were culled from artists all over the world, and for a quick description, I'll quote Barry's words:

"post-hypnotic examines the resurgence of pronounced optical effects in the work of 28 painters living in the U.S., Switzerland, England, and Japan. The Op art movement—peaking in the wake of mid-sixties World’s Fair optimism—lost its critical appeal as it transmuted almost overnight from canvas into clothing design. Since the 1980s, however, numerous artists have revisited perceptual phenomena involving pulsating patterns, afterimages, vibrating illusionistic space, and other sensations often associated with altered states."

Little did any of us know, but this gem of a show - organized and installed by 5 people in Normal, IL - would go on to travel for several years, including such venues as The Atlanta College of Art Gallery, The Tweed Museum at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, The McKinney Ave Contemporary in Dallas, The Chicago Cultural Center, The Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples, FL, The Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati, and The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, NC.

Bridget Riley

The show left a lasting impression on me partly (a tad) in my own work, but moreso in terms of the "wow.... cool." factor. After the buzz was over and done with - several years later when I had moved on to chicago - I used the work as a point of departure for several art project ideas for a day camp I worked at. And it worked wonderfully. so... after moving back here and a couple years of going back and forth on the idea, i finally submitted a post-hyponitc-ish idea as a formal studio class proposal to the Figge Art Museum. a few months back they accepted it as an official class for this winter/spring season.

here's my description of the class:

In the 1990s, contemporary art saw a resurgence of visually stimulating “Op Art” that proved to be as exciting as the work made by the 1960s artists that pioneered the genre. Join us in this class as we talk about some famous Op Art works throughout the years, and then go on to create our own wild, eye-popping paintings and drawings.

we'll start of each session by looking at reproductions of some work throughout the ages, as well as the official exhibition catalogue we made back at ISU, talking about what makes the pieces powerfully "popping," and then get to work on individual acrylic paintings. a run of three classes will be for students within the 5th to 8th grade range. those classes meet from 1:00 to 2:15 on Saturdays April 12th, 19th, and 26th. A separate class for high school students will take place as one section of the "Teen Scene" class - my op art section takes place from 2:30 to 4:30 on Saturday, February 23rd. if you know anyone who may be interested, give the museum a call.

Phillip Taaffe
Adam, Eve

Mark Dagley
Primary Color Vortex

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