Fission | Bridget Riley | 1963
After the abstract expressionism of the 50s, several American and English artists were concerned by the relation it is formed between the art work and the spectator. And they found their answer in what they called Op art, the short for optical art. The movement explored the use of geometrical patterns to disorient the human eye, both spatially as kinetically (clarification for the layman: “kinetic” refers to movement). The English Bridget Riley, particularly, at the beginning of her career, used black and white shapes to achieve this kind of effects. As we may see in Fission, through a calculated deformation of circles, the painting generates the illusion of swallowing us inside, exciting the visual tension of the spectator.
Despite today a kid can generate these images with a computer, we must remember that, in the 60s, this kind of technology was very rudimentary; for that, we should acknowledge the artists of the Op art movement, who could generate these effects by hand.