20/20 | Co-Curator | January 2020 - January 2021 | University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art

Intense patterns and optical illusions serve different functions across time and culture but produce the same dizzying effect. Op Art – a term coined by Jeffrey Steele in the October 23, 1964 issue of TIME Magazine – is most associated with clashing colors and vibrating geometric contrasts. Carefully calibrated according to the emerging science of optics, paintings and prints associated with Op Art responded to the messy, emotional works of Abstract Expressionism and borrowed bright hues from Pop Art. However, these formal artistic conventions did not originate in the mid-twentieth century. From Navajo (Diné) “Eye Dazzler” textiles to the strip woven kente cloth of the Ewe and Asante peoples of Ghana to the geometric art of Edna Andrade and Larry Poons, this exhibition explores the alluring and sometimes visually alarming use of formal elements and science of seeing. Additionally, this exhibition considers the ways in which visual perception can alter our experience of consciousness.