Movement in Squares, 1961, by Bridget Riley.
Reader question: “2D Op Art makes you feel like it’s 3D. So how do you create 3D Op Art?”
I received this question from a jewelry designer interested in creating jewelry inspired by Op Art, but did not know how to recreate the effect in a more sculptural form. It’s true that most Op Art is created on a 2D surface – creating the effect that it seems to be jumping off the page – but, as I will go through in this post, there were actually a few sculptors even in the original Op Art movement.
Art in Island‘s reimagined version of Francois Boucher’s Nude on a Sofa, complete with two children sneaking a peek at her butt. Photo by me.
I recently visited the interactive art museum Art In Island in Manila, where visitors are encouraged to take photographs with large murals painted on the walls. Some of these murals are inspired by famous works of art, and some are inspired by famous works of art featuring naked women. Seeing the way that these female bodies had been recontextualised, into a space where visitors were encouraged to interact with them, made me realize something: it’s time to talk about the Female Nude in art history.
Namatjira outside the government house in Sydney, 1947
Movement/Style: Watercolour landscape associated with the Hermannsburg School
Well, who was he?
Albert Namatjira (1902 – 1959) was a monumental figure within Australian art. Working in “European”-style watercolours as an Indigenous Australian Arrernte man, he painted the Central Australian landscape in ways that revolutionized ideas of what Indigenous Australian artists were capable of. His story is very connected to the fraught relationship between white Australia and Indigenous Australia.
Manao tupapau (The Spirit of the Dead Keep Watch) (1892)
Reader question: “How can I love artists like Gauguin when I know so much of his work was exploitative and racist? How can we look past the artist and appreciate the art? Should we?”
That’s a great question! This is something that a lot of people struggle with. It’s sometimes hard to admit that beautiful and famous art can also be based on racist and sexist attitudes.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Paul Gauguin, he was a French Post-Impressionist/Symbolist artist who famously moved to Tahiti in the late 19th century and painted the people (more specifically, the women) that he met there.
Anna Ancher, Denmark’s most famous female artist
Anna Ancher is famous in Scandinavia, but basically unknown in the rest of the world. Which is a shame because we always need more discussion on awesome female artists in art history.
Movement/Style: Part of the Skagen artists’ colony. She’s usually associated with Naturalism, and sometimes with Realism and Impressionism.
Country: She traveled a bit around Europe, but lived, worked and died in the small town of Skagen in Denmark.
Well, who was she?
Anna Ancher (1859 – 1935) was a Danish painter active in the late 19th and early 20th century. She was part of a group of artists and other creative people who briefly lived and worked in the small fisherfolk village of Skagen in Northern Denmark, known as the Skagen colony.