“Every form is a base for color, every color is the attribute of a form.” (Victor Vasarely)
Josef Albers, Homage to the Square.
“Anyone who predicts the effect of colors proves that he has no experience with color.” (Josef Albers)
In his 1963 book titled “Interaction of Colour”, Albers outlined some of the theoretical concepts behind the psychology of Op-Art. This writing was based primarily on the artist’s foundational belief that finds colours to have their own deceptive and internal logic. While Op-art remains typically black and white, many significant artists made the use of vibrant colour as the focus and means of their illusionary optical elements. Within Op-art, contrasting colours can suggest depth and space.
Another seminal figure within the art movement was British artist Bridget Riley. As part of her practice, the perception and ways we see art have continuously been Riley’s primary subject matter. In the 1960s, she became first associated with the movement after producing a series of dazzling black and white paintings that were featured in the important exhibition “The Responsive Eye” at the Museum of Modern Art in 1965. Struggling to establish her own style as a painter, Riley often studied the work of other artists such as Georges Seurat, who she noted taught her about the importance of contrast and the interplay of tone and colour. Riley herself only introduced colour to her optical painterly practice in 1967 and has since explored its potential at length: “At the core of colour is a paradox. It is simultaneously one thing and several things – you can never see colour by itself, it is always affected by other colours. A long line of colour, essentially an “edge” without a large volume to carry, is the ideal element to work with this elusive relationship between colour and light”.