Sunday, April 8, 2012

Reflections: Op Art, Bridgit Riley and Me






Reviewing Riley's work this morning,  I recalled stripes  is where she began for me. Her dots followed.


Briget Riley's dots with the illusion of depth
When I woke this morning I was still thinking about the distorted patterns I was
drawn to in that glass building reflecting a glass building and the optical motion in the GRAM's painting--Patterns in motion, not the actual title, but the title I've given  it.

The geometry of the painting is what gives it motion. It's what we called  "Op Art," a "school" of psychedelic illusions around the time of my gogo boots, French Courreges sweater and mini skirt strutting about to Nancy Sinatra's  "These boots were made for walking"  and curious about LSD, but too chicken to try it. (I was a mom after all).
The patterns of Emilio Pucci, fashion designer

Briget Riley was the British innovative painter whose optical illusions I liked best. Her work influenced both fashion and home furnishings fabric designers--Emilio Pucci comes to mind.  Other influences seemed to come from  Escher, Duchamp, Sol Lewitt,  all artists whose work involved patterns, repetition  and the illusion of movement. There's an op art painting in one of the offices of Mad Men that draws my attention every time and makes me miss whatever those chauvinistic pigs are talking about while they chug scotch and take drag after drag from their coffin nails. The set is really well done. I own the arc lamp you can see in this still and I use it  in my eclectic furnished house. My arc lamp is from the sixties. It is still being made today, but the materials are missing the quality.

This is the excitement I take home from art museums: plenty of ideas to toss around from all the innovations that are  open to us to explore, to do with as we choose. And I have over the years, tried them all. My diverse artistic tastes  have been very helpful to me in business, for I, as a interior space designer, was never restricted by my aesthetics and never accused of being a "one trick pony." I loved all styles of expression and can move easily between them. Clients appreciated that. Unfortunately, that freedom  of movement between styles is restricted to artists. You can choose your medium, your subject, but your style should be consistent. Mine is not. Take a look at what fascinated me periodically  from  the late seventies through the nineties.


In the seventies, my fascination with the directionality  and dimensional effects of stripes.  


In the eighties, geometric repetitions and deep space occupied my mind.


 
Then I  turned outward and added color.


In the nineties, I went big. This painting ,108" x  24," was sized so it would fit in the elevator up to our apartment.
Without a studio on the premises, I painted it on bolt canvas, scroll style across my desk, then stretched it.




Today, it occupies one wall of our bedroom with three feet on either side.
 In the apartment, it hung over the couch and was reflected in the wall of windows
 floor to ceiling windows across from it. The reflection surrounded by the lights
 of the city, twenty two stories down, was spectacular.

     After reviewing Riley, Escher, Duchamp, Pucci and me,the GRAM's op art painting is pretty tame.







16 comments:

  1. I love your painting, you must have been so precise working it out. It seems to grab you and take you along, and back again and again. Love it.

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    1. Thanks Ann. It was very tedious--all this geometric, precision art is. But in the apartment, without any get-down-and-dirty studio space, this style, rigid and disciplined and intellectual, was all I had room to do. It was also the kind of drawing I was doing on the job, but , would you believe, looser!

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  2. Such an interesting post Linda. I used to be fascinated by Viktor Vasarely. Your Pucci remark cracked me up, so true though!

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    1. Me too. I forgot about him,yet there's a book on my shelf, which means: I gave him a real good looking over. To me, Vasarely seemed to be more about the dimensionality of color with regards to values. Simplistically: some hues come forward,while others fall back depending upon their lightness or darkness--but it's been a while since I've thought about any of this. Museums do this to me--particularly ones I've never visited before.

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  3. Linda, I love your BIG painting, and the graphic one of "depth". I remember sitting in math classes at university, doodling psychedelic doodles. Loved your post today - made me smile.

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    1. It's amazing how excited these conceptual paintings can get you.
      Hung on the wall, often giant in size, with plenty of space around them to let you breathe, they shout at you and pull you in. They have a grand presence that cannot be ignored and always make me smile. You do know Kathryn that these are the paintings that layman always remark "I could do that" as they pass by. But you and I both know these are complex structures, exacting, color-wise and very time consuming.

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  4. Woo Hoo!! This is so exciting you can't believe it :0)) Linda!

    I thought I had found the key to the universe when I started drawing Isometrics in 1953!! Then sheer and half-breadth plans in Naval Architecture ... but whilst I have been scrambling around with the basics you were inventing a whole new dimension ... or three!

    Look, it's going to take some time for me to get my little brain around this blog of yours. How exciting ... and you seem the right vintage ...Pat and I married in 1959, she still introduces me as her first husband, reckons it keeps me on my toes (same old jokes, sorry)

    See you later - you've made my day (but what's this new concept? Color/Colour? ... I've heard of it somewhere!!)

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    1. Hi John. Thanks for becoming a follower. You definitely flatter me.I'm a draughtsman by birth who flunked high school geometry and had to take it over in summer school. Today I find that funny, for geometry is all I've been doing when doodling these and while designing residential interior floor plans for a lot of years.
      We are of the same generation. Honey and I married in 1960. Honey introduces me as his second wife. He likes to flatter me too. I haven't heard of color/colour. I think I'll do some sleuthing online. Meanwhile I'm off to another art show this morning to size up the competition in this state of Michigan. An art hobbiest most of my life, I'm thinking of "coming out" into the world I saved for later. Later is here.

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  5. Replies
    1. Robert, your WOWs mean a lot. Thank you.

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  6. Wow, you really did some great pieces over the years, and the on e hanging in your bedroom is fabulous!!!

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    1. Thanks Jane. Repetitions slightly varied and done over time can add up to something really powerful.

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  7. Wow Linda
    Love love love your work - very impressed.
    I am a fan of B.Riley's work.

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    1. The simplicity of her concept is definitely something to remember when so often we are bombarded and distracted by the complex details that surround us.

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  8. Oh My God. What you've been hiding. You are long overdue in "coming out". I disagree that your style is inconsistent. I see a natural progression, and your patterns of late are more organic. Your art is wonderful.

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  9. I agree with Dan--your striped fabric painting above reminds me of your landscapes. Direction and Dimension. Beautiful work here.

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