Drawn from the word ‘optical’ and the concept of ‘optical illusion’, Op Art, is just that – an art form characterized by features of an optical illusion.
The term "Op art" is said to be first used by artist and writer Donald Judd, in a review of an exhibition of "Optical Paintings" by Julian Stanczak. However, it doesn’t have any defined beginnings. One could see its roots in 19th century art and color theory, in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's writings on color, and particularly in the paintings of Georges Seurat.
Artists create op art not just for creating optical illusions but for aiding audiences to break their perceptions and create illusions. These artworks often revolve around social and cultural roots. For instance in the 1950s when op art blossomed into a movement, the artists were primarily inspired by the new advances in technology and psychology.
Much like kinetic art, op art employs techniques that make the artwork seem dynamic. Characterized mostly by abstract shapes, lines and black and white colour op art creates different optical effects. Op art is now widely seen outside of the canvas as well in fashion, décor and design.