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Tacoma Art Museum presents Optic Nerve: The Art of Perception

Tacoma Art Museum presents Optic Nerve: The Art of Perception an exhibition on view through April 20, 2014.

Optic Nerve: The Art of Perception showcases a selection of artwork that embodies these questions while venturing into ideas about visual and spatial perception. Visitors are invited to immerse themselves in pulsating patterns, eye-dazzling colors, and disorienting forms for a whole new way of seeing.

“By manipulating your eye, the works on view heighten your experience of looking at art,” said Margaret Bullock, Curator of Collections and Special Collections at Tacoma Art Museum. “The variety of works will surprise you. For example, you might see something across the gallery that looks like paint splattered on the wall, but it is actually a three-dimensional physical structure.”

Several of the artists featured in Optic Nerve were major figures in the op art movement, including Bridget Riley, Richard Anuszkiewicz, and Victor Vasarely. The exhibition also includes works by Northwest op artists Spencer Moseley and Francis Celentano, who is still actively creating art today.

Op artists embraced perceptual experimentation as the primary motive for their art, creating images that explored the illusion of movement through color and pattern. Seen as a new form of abstraction, op art influenced pop culture, fashion, and design of the 1960s.

All of the artwork in Optic Nerve comes from the museum’s permanent collection. Some works, such as John Buck’s Dragon House, have never been on display at the museum before.