Art

21st May 2004 at 01:00
Though perspective is an illusion used by many artists to convey a sense of three-dimensional space, some have centred their work solely on optical illusions. For example in "Island No. 10" Frank Stella plays with perceptual geometrical effects to confuse the eye. Accustomed as the viewer is to seeing images three-dimensionally, a flat pattern of squares inside squares seems to move forward or backwards. Other artists, such as Victor Vasarely, became known as "OP" artists because of their aggressive optical patterns which assault the viewer.

Using cut paper squares and circles in a checkerboard formation start with simple black-and-white optical repeating patterns. A wide range of examples, from simple to highly complicated, can be found in Visual Elements; Marks and Patterns (Columbus Books) and Japanese Optical and Geometrical Art (Dover Books). Photocopy examples so that pupils can cut them up, combine or rearrange them into new designs.

Surrealist works by Magritte ("The Promenades of Euclid", 1955; "The Domain of Arnem", 1962) present visual illusion and paradox, which fascinate pupils. Seemingly impossible visions feature in works such as Gustave Moreau's "The Apparition - Dance of Salome" (1876) or Escher's visual conundrums. Introduce "impossible visions" by giving pupils black-and-white photocopies of landscape photographs.

For homework, ask pupils to introduce "a visionary image" or a contradictory element in an incorrect scale by adding collaged pieces from a magazine. Re-photocopy to produce a consistent black-and-white image in larger format, the subtle effect of Whymper's woodcut being simulated by drawing with a ball-point pen on to Quickprint (a dense polystyrene sheet), producing a line drawing to print from.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now