July 17, 2015

AAC Campers Create Op Art

“I don’t grow up. In me is the small child of my early days…”
– Maurits Cornelis Escher

Most of the time it feels like we live in a very logical world; gravity keeps us grounded (literally), we abide by the laws of physics, and the space in which we exist is clear-cut. In last week’s summer art camp Visual Illusions & Game Arts, we wanted to play with the idea of space as an illusion to see what other dimensions artwork could take us to.

As our guide for this week, we used the work of graphic artist M. C. Escher to help facilitate our  exploration of space. Maurits Cornelis Escher is best known for his mind-bending prints, woodcuts, and lithographs.

He explored abstract concepts such as eternity, infinity, and the unfeasible by playing with mathematics to challenge the physical limitations of our world to create what he called “impossible spaces.”

Last week campers here at AAC learned how artists like Escher use optical techniques in their work to create what is known as Op Art. This category of art is usually defined by the artist’s usage of color and shape to create an optical illusion.

AAC instructor Melanie Kehoss took this principle along with Escher’s knack for “impossible spaces” and married them to teach campers to create a series of artworks that emphasize the interactions and intersections between colors, space, line, and shape.

Campers came together to explore the possibilities of puzzles by each creating their own puzzle piece featuring an image on a black background, then fitting the pieces together in different combinations.

AAC Summer Art Campers create AgamographsWe also explored new possibilities in using color and shape to produce Agamographs, an art-making technique that portrays two completely different images depending on the angle from which it is viewed. By the time the week was over, we used our artwork to break into a new dimension of space and illusion. We think M.C. Escher would be proud!

Even though Visual Illusions & Game Arts is over, we still have SIX WEEKS of summer art camps, including camps like PLAY, which focuses on the subject matter of our summer exhibition! Check out the full schedule online.
“At a time when abstract art was ruling the galleries, Escher fooled all of us by exploring such abstract ideas as eternity, infinity, and the impossible in apparently realistic prints that were amazingly well made.” – Micky Piller, curator of Escher in Het Paleis

written by Kaity O’Reilly, AAC Summer Education Intern

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