These are the artworks that are currently displayed in exhibition as


Artworks 1 to 5 are as follows:

Apologies for the weird layout of the pics, the lack of scale of the paintings and lack of text in places.  The very largest painting is GALAXIES GALORE#2, while STARLET is one of the smaller works and the COSMIC diamond-shaped trio are the smallest, with SUPERNOVA being the tiniest.  The rest are all fairly large works.

Apologies for the multiple Updates – I hope the layout comes through properly now – at least for Desktops.  What it does on mobiles is going to be pot-luck!  I had a lot of trouble loading and arranging these pics – they refused to be moved, deleted themselves or other pics, and finally refused to be named.  This program needs a lot of work to make it more user-friendly.

See my blog Shaped Canvases Open Images: SPACE IN SHAPES to see the theoretical concept underlying these Astonomical works.

Jud House   30/07/2017

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Adrift in Space 2
ADRIFT IN SPACE – Acrylic – Jud House

Further to my and my posts, I’ve been pondering the variety of painting application techniques as I’ve worked on my ‘space’ paintings for my coming exhibition.  It seems to me that there are no longer any rigid rules about what you use to apply your paint.  And I so approve of that.  It is not what you use to get there – it’s the completed artwork, its evocative image that’s important.

I paint in Acrylic, using synthetic brushes – they are the most compatible for the type of work I do.  They are sympathetic to the Acrylic.  They don’t interfere with the delicacy of some of the implied texture, and allow me to work into that so finely, pulling out images, teasing colour in between the texture.  But I use so much more to apply my paint.

ANDROMEDA GALAXY – Acrylic – Jud House

For the ‘space’ paintings, I’ve applied very dark background Acrylic paint into a smooth medium-density layer upon which to cast the stars, galaxies, nebulae and matter of the universe.  I’ve applied thin coloured layers of paint over this and lifted it off with various types of plastics (bags, wrappings, bubble-wrap) and toweling (paper, old tea towels, rags, washers) to show the space behind the implied texture above.  I’ve then used the lifted off paint on the plastics to apply it in dabs and smears to other dry works – waste not, want not.  I’ve painted the plastics with the paint, from neat to very wet and thin, and dabbed it on the works to build up colour and texture simultaneously.  I’ve used my fingers, either with unintentional paint that I’ve then applied, or intentionally dipping my finger tips into the paint to apply it in touches, dabs, smears and rubbing, to add to or modify or correct a part of the artwork.  On other artworks I’ve applied paint with skewers, knives, spoons, sponges, lids, and other miscellaneous objects that have come to hand.  Some artworks have all been brushwork, from the initial background brush to finer brushes to paint on thin layers as washes, to build up and moderate the colours used.


Cross-section of GALAXIE GALORE – Acrylic – Jud House

Apart from a few larger sized flat brushes for blending larger areas and laying background paint onto smaller works, I prefer synthetic Dagger brushes.  I’ve only found one brand that makes them, so far, but there must be others.  They are so versatile – like having the best of all the brushes rolled into one.  Turn them side-on and you can sweep layers (thin through to thick) of paint across the canvas, rolling slightly to create waves, twisting back and forth for unusual organic shapes, turning it on edge to create thin to thick lines, lifting it onto its tiny tip to draw a line as thin as hair.  They only seem to come in 4 smallish sizes but your can do a lot with the largest of them that you can do with any other medium brush.  I have other shaped synthetic brushes in jars, many tiny tip brushes that I used for the tiny line work although they tended to produced blobby little lines despite their minute size.  But since my discovery of the Dagger brushes they remain in their jars unused, like the jars of hogshair brushes that I’ve not used for years (except one recently to paint around the outside edge of a thin-framed canvas) and that felt a bit weird.


REFLECTIONS – Acrylic – Jud House

Now for people who paint with Acrylic in thick, dense, structured brushwork, and who prefer the brushstrokes to show, and who build up ‘real’ texture that can be felt by touch, then hogshair (or synthetic) brushes are perfect for the tasks.  I’ve done many of these works in the past, but for the work I’m producing at the moment the hogshair brushes are not needed.  I may return to them at a future date – who knows – but I’m not discarding them or giving them away – they can sit in their jars till needed.

I know it’s a mundane and rather redundant thing to say, (and not aimed at experienced artists) but how you clean your brushes is so important.  Just a quick wash under the tap will not suffice.  Acrylic paint needs to be removed from the brush totally, or it will taint the next colour – unless you keep blue brushes for blue paint, red for red, etc  The paint tints the synthetic brush a little more than it does the hogshair, and embeds at the base of the ferrule a little less than the hogshair.  It needs to be massaged out.  I usually rinse my water container (a takeaway tub) then rinse the brush in that, emptying and refilling as it dirties, then finally massage the brush up near the ferrule to dislodge the last particles possible.  That way I don’t waste precious water, and end up with a clean brush.  Actually I usually do several brushes at once – whatever I’ve used for that artwork till the water needed changing.  The brushes last much longer and I don’t need to keep buying new ones.

NEBULAE – Acrylic – Jud House

As you can see, I quite approve of the freedom of equipment, impliment, and utensil use that artists of today have at their disposal.  You are no longer considered to “paint like a child” if you get stuck into your artwork with your painted hands.  You’re allowed to mix utensils as well as media these days.  Go for it!

Jud House  6/01/2017

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Galactic Exhibition

Just a quick note to let you all know that in April I’m having a solo art exhibition, featuring my Galactic/Cosmic paintings on shaped canvases, at the West Australian Gravity/Cosmos Centre, Military Road, GinGin, at the Observatory amongst the telescopes.  The retracting roof will give great light to the pieces which will of course be protected.

I have 10 large artworks to produce in the next 3 months so may not be able to add any more Art Theory and Technique blogs.  I may however be able to add the occasional update re the coming exhibition with pics of the artworks as they are completed.  PILLARS OF CREATION NEBULA, SUPERNOVA 3, and HORSEHEAD NEBULA already underway.

Hoping you will like them.

Jud House   31/12/2016


Shaped Canvases = Open Images.



The thing that I’ve realised after revisiting my art theory and history notes is that there are no longer any Rules of Art.  There are Techniques, Skills, Styles, Genres, and Subjective Perceptions of Art.

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Feeling Free L2 – Peter Nottrott – Saatchi Art

Techniques:  are multiple, some recognised, others a mystery to the viewers and other yet-to-be-enlightened artists.  These are creations, experiments, accidental images discovered in and teased out of the initial foundation or background, intentional explorations with single or mixed media, and expressionism gone rampant.  Now I realise that this may not sound like Techniques – brushwork, carving, palette knife work, colour mixing, sculpting, impasto, washes, and so on – but they all involve and are extensions of these, resulting in some incredible artworks.

Skills:  are obviously still really valuable.  It is obvious that the degree of Art Skills applied in different works vary hugely.  Some appear not to be applied at all, yet behind every artwork is the intent of the artist.  What may appear to the viewer as just a single coloured canvas may be a deliberate exercise in colour intensity, or transparency, or variation of hue, brushwork, density, or the creation of optical afterimage on the retina of the prospective viewer.  Other artworks display every skill necessary to depict near photographic figurative work – sound drawing skills, chiaroscuro, tiny brushwork, perspective, volume, use of light, colour contrasts and complements, balanced composition, underlying structure etc.  Both are valid.  Both are Art as creations of the artists.

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Sir Ian McKellan – Christian Hook

Styles:  are not quite the same thing as Genres.  I perceive Style as being the recognisable work of a specific artist, or group of artists – their signature.  Van Gogh’s work is recognisably his, as is Renoir’s, Matisse’s, Gauguin’s, and an interminable list of artists of all genres.  Today, thanks to the exposure via the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year television program, the Styles of Christian Hook and Nick Lord, and also to a lesser degree that of the other contestants, are recognised instantly, world wide via social media.  The Style ‘Schools’ created within groups still show variations.  Collaborative works encompass the participants’ differences, producing a Style-Meld or Multi-Style. That is the astonishing thing about Art – that there can be so many Styles, such variety, a seemingly infinite degree of uniqueness that can be produced.  And what a gift that is to an artist – to develop, discover, create a unique Style!

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Lance Sergeant Johnson Gideon Beharry VC – Nick Lord

Genres:  are the designations of the trends that occurred, and continue to occur, in the development of Art, and thanks to the Impressionists (a Genre) its freedom from rigid constraints in Techniques, Skills, Styles and Subject Matter.  The work can be Figurative, Impressionist, Cubist, Post-Impressionist, Expressionist, Modern, Post-Modern, DaDa, Surrealist, Digital Figurative and Fantasy, Art Wallpapers (computer screens) and so on to the undesignated, yet-to-be-labelled latest trends of dribbling, slashing, scratching, blurring, wiping, texturing, collaging, mixing and constructing that artists can dream up.  Do they need labels?  Is the Genre important any more?

Subjective perceptions of Art:  And so I come to this.  I have been surprised and dismayed to find how much the subjective perceptions  – their artistic preferences, their personal baggage – of those judging the various television art competition programs, inform their comments on the contestants’ artworks.  It is a competition, so there must be judgements, and of course the judges’ fields of expertise will affect their points of view.  But in this artistic era, where freedom of expression is not just encouraged but expected, the denigration of artwork that is pleasing to look at, that is pretty, or illustrative, is unacceptable.

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Illustration – Double Exposure – Pat Perry 

Illustrative art is still Art.  It is a form of Figurative Art.  It’s place is not only in magazines or books  -it can hang on walls beside painterly works, or cubist works, or expressive works on an equal footing. The PUNCH magazine illustrations are still Art that hang proudly in galleries, and homes.  Paintings that are pretty, Watercolours of gorgeous light effects on colourful landscapes, are just as valid as a Portrait of a prominent person.  It feeds the emotions  of the viewer, producing happiness, a sense of serenity.  Art can be evocative, be about feelings.  In these days of stress, that is not a bad thing.  Art does not always have to carry a Message.  It doesn’t have to be about Issues.  Constable’s landscapes were about the landscapes, and the use of paint to capture the light and colours and shapes.

Artists, on the whole, are vulnerable people, exposing their work to the public hoping for understanding, comprehension, and validation, rather than negative criticism.  Consideration should be tantamount in the delivery of judgements – good points made followed by suggestions for tightening of skills needed for the specific style chosen by the contestant – as many judges do – rather than telling them it is dreadful , laughable, or lacking in skills – as a few judges do.  The ridiculing of contestants needs to stop.  It is unpleasant for all concerned, including the program viewers.  The audience want to see how the artists paint; how they can create their own versions of the designated subject matter.  They choose their favourites subjectively, and want to see them do well.  They do not want to watch people being humiliated and upset.  The shows should be about the Art and the Artists Styles.

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Landscape Abstract Digital Painting – Simon Boxer

Do the Rules of Art still apply?  Or are Artists truly free to create,with acceptance and respect?

Jud House  4/11/2016

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Neo-Dada was considered a hybrid, as it brought painting and sculpture together – linking the art of Cubist collages with constructivism.  It was a freedom in visual arts, where the work could be both 2D and 3D – e.g. with the image painted, then a shelf pit in front of it, with sculpture inside – a combination of relief collages and assemblages, with subject matter being of every day things and experiences.  Neo-Dada was for the exploration of art, and its re-creation for the world.  Johns and Rauschenberg worked together, sharing a studio for a while, aware of the art all around them, and mixing it with the traditional.

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Flag Complementary Colours – Johns – Corpse and Mirror II

Jaspar Johns:  painted a flag in green, orange and black, which when stared at gave an after-image of the red, blue and white flag.  He built up his works in encaustic (beeswax plus pigment) onto his canvases, instead of carving away, to give a texture and form to his work.  Assemblages, optical illusions, frottage, use of stencils, graphic art, fine art, crazy art, all brought together in his works.  He was often linked to Pop Art, as he was concerned with flat images, maps, flags, and numbers on paintings.  In the sixties, he included extraneous materials, e.g. knives, forks, stuck on, dangling off, as he attempted to create a new relationship between art and life – when does art end and life begin?  He produced sculptures, lithographs, sets and costumes for the ballet, working in 2D and 3D art.

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Charlene – Rauschenberg – 1954

Robert Rauschenberg:  also added objects to canvas, and called them combines – to blur the line between art and life.  He was also linked to Pop Art, drawing from daily life and media.  He used more ambiguous and painterly techniques, using paint medium more, and although he still had shock value in Dada, he had less silliness.  He brought to his works life’s unpredictable complexities, by ensuring that his works were hung in the right places to be seen properly – by motorising it, it needed to be near a power outlet, making it actually more complex.  He showed variations on Cubist collage, through Surrealism to Dada, and back again.

There has been a link drawn from Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, through the works of Johns and Rauschenberg.  They both showed an interest in the treatment of the picture surface plane which is something that has been evolving from Manet, to Cubism to Abstraction.

POP ART (Popular Art)

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Elvis Presley – print on canvas – Warhol

Pop Art is still with us in heart if not in art.  Johns and Rauschenberg lacked the commitment to the whole acceptance of the urban popular culture, unique to post WWII, that signified Pop Art.  Its manifestations were constantly changing, everything had to be new, promoting the idea of transience.  Although it originated in England, it grew in America due to the extra affluence of the latter.  Also this occurred because it was vulgar, transient, expendable, witty, sexy, gimmicky, and glamorous – all totally superficial, which the Americans loved.

It was in films, ready-mades, magazines, posters all used this form of art – painting, screen-printing, sculpture, assemblages, were all used to create this art that was in and out of fashion like clothes were.  It was often commercial – art made to sell to a vulgar society.  It reflected life in the fast lane, and current urban life.  It was very effective, it communicated, it was superficial, it was surface decoration.  The artists never attempted to justify it.  The good thing about it was that it returned to the image.  (Photo Realism and Romantic Realism also developed at this time).  it was not so much a movement as a tendency, with many artists appearing and disappearing.

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Grevy’s Zabra – Warhol – Green Coca-Cola Bottles

Andy Warhol:  baffled critics and public alike by his success, whcih he made, along with his lifestyle, as art-form in itself.  he was his own work of art, he consciously personified Pop Art.  But he also had artistic talent – he could paint, draw, sculpt, and make screen-prints.  He employed helpers in factories, he made film and stage sets, he made personalities.  To be seen with him was to be IN.  His skill and influence on the art world stopped him being a con.  he sued startling colour and visual energy, was a graphic artist, and was genuine.  He had the ability of “turning the mediocre into the profitable”.  He was a manipulator of society, rock bands, gossip columns, gossip magazines, rumour, and urban cultural society in general.  He and his life-style was just a facade, and he was very powerful within his strata.  He was a product of his affluent time and took advantage of it.  He was pretentious.

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Project 2 Vector Art – Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein:  was more serious in his approach to art.  He began by painting great American historical events.  Then he worked comic book art and advertising art up into fine art – using tiny dots that comprised the photo image (as Seurat did with colour in Pointillism), and creating visual images with them on a larger scale.  Sometimes he took segments of a comic book image and blew them up so that his work was a design rather than a s comic image.  He used the qualities of design, the rhythms within design, and linear treatments, working with them and the concept of abstraction to communicate in an abstract manner.  The working of the painting and the subject matter were of very little importance – but the satire and public comment was.

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Man swimming on the banks of the Thames – Oldenburg

Claus Oldenburg:  had a great sense of humour.  His sculpture reflects it, creating surprise on the perceptions of the viewers by presenting the acceptable in an unacceptable way, e.g. furry cup and saucer.  He made the viewer contemplate smooth versus rough, hard versus soft.  He delighted in organic contours, creating not so much the art of the con rather than the art as fun.

Pop Art accepted and approved of all art, artifacts (even Tupperware, and comics).  Anything plastic was good.  If it were popular then it was valid –  Art could be made out of it. It explored the good and the bad of the fact and fantasy of life.

NB:  If you choose to quote from this blog please cite its URL in your Bibliography.

Jud House   12/10/2016

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From 1945 onwards the art scene shifted from Europe to America, as a result of the damage done during World War II, and the emigration of artists,some of whom took the Bauhaas school to Chicago.  They produced a new universal style, with great variety, of which the characteristics were hard to define, or label into schools or styles.  Artists evolved, with facets of art going in and out of style quickly.

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Transverse Line – Kandinsky

In New York, the art scene was trendy and nouveau riche – it was the thing to suggest that art was ‘new, radical and exciting’, or that it was ‘passe’.  Socially there was a constant changing of lifestyle due to returned soldiers – home loans, mortgages, college studies all being the influential thing to be or do.  There was very good and very bad art at the time, with many fashions – e.g. Op Art, Pop Art, Hard Edge Abstraction, Post-Painterly Abstraction, Hyperrealism, and Conceptual Art.  Cultural traditions and fine art coming to New York evolved into a plastic culture – Neo-Dada and Pop Art were inevitable artistic expression with a specific relationship to life.

Abstract Expressionism: was a direct descendant of all abstraction from Van Gogh, and including Surrealism (non-figurative), Dada, theories on Automatism and Chance developments – the development of creative intuition.  The centre of the Art World was wrenched away from Paris to New York, mainly because of money – art SOLD in America.  Suburbs were spreading creating a relationship between the suburbs and the city – people went to galleries to buy paintings to go in their new houses.  there were good jobs and good money.

It was art like Abstract Expressionism that was trendy, new and saleable, and therefore sought after.  The affluence of the New York society ensured it was important, with the economic boom seeing artists as viable investments.  Also sophisticates were looking for something exciting.  It was a time of pure materialism – with the development of the art manager.

Image result for pollock artistThe Key – Pollock

Abstract Expressionism can be broken into two avenues:
1. Action Painting – was usually non-representational, though not always.
2. Colourfield – was almost always non-representational.


It was the first American art movement to dominate the world – energetic explosions on the canvas, with no recognisable subject except in De Kooning figures.  It was the action of the painting that was important, not the finished work.  The act of painting rather than the finished work, which the artist considered as dead, completed.  It developed from the improvisational drawings of Dada, with its automation and ambiguous space.  It incorporated Expressionism, Figurative and Non-Figurative Abstraction – influenced by the ideas of Kandinsky, Klee, and Miro.

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Drip Painting – Pollock

Jackson Pollock:  created the idea of the overall composition in which he never intended to have a central focal image.  The creation of art was to extend beyond the canvas, and to create unity between the artist and his communication.  he lost himself in his art – he lived in it.  His thick application had a textural interest.  he moved around on the canvas which covered the floor, flicking paint, pouring paint, sitting amongst it, walking across it.  When he considered it finished he cut it up, stretched it onto frames and sold it.  He was influenced by Picassos, Surrealists, as well as a Mexican Realist, Orozco.

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Excavation – De Kooning

Willem De Kooning:   was a house painter and carpenter, who transferred draftsman lines into a painterly gesture.  He recorded the idea of creation and changes of mind by tracing the inspiration as it came.  He drew with his paint brush, with the mind changes visible.  He was influenced by Ongre (a Realist), Picasso, and Miro.  He preferred the female figure to painting still lifes, and always  tried to keep in touch with his image.  Despite this, he’s considered an action painter because of the recording of the changes of mind.  His works were characterised by bold brushwork and spontaneity.


They are sometimes called Abstract Imagists, as they focus on a single image, which could be line of colour that they blow up to produce fields of colour.  These are devised to fill the field of the viewer’s vision.  They produced a broad overall design or simple colour on very large canvases.

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PH-21 – Still

Clyfford Still:  was an art history teacher, who believed that artists should realise their own vision.  He gave a sense of rough energy, almost volcanic, with strong visual impact in thick pigment.  The contours appear eaten away creating a sense of power.  He developed from Surrealism to Colourfield, but was always an independent.

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Colourfield Paintings – Rothko

Mark Rothko:  favoured a simple expression of a complex thought.  He simplified back to geometric areas of colour, particularly rectangles, often with them bleeding into each other.  It was a logical progressions from Mondrian.  He attempted with scale and use of colour to overcome and involve the spectator, so they would lose themselves in the work.  He played on the psychological effect of colour on the viewer.

NB: If you choose to quote from this blog please cite its URL in your Bibliography.

Jud House   11/10/2016

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The Futurists were all concerned with movement in art – real or implied. The 20th Century was seen as highly mobile, socially, on every level – activity, noise, vibrations in life.  Manifestos were written 1909 and 1912 for Futurism, which closed in about 1920.  Futurism is strongly related to Cubism and Divisionalism, and to the use of the camera.

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Blue Dancer – Severini – 1912

It started in Italy in the cities of Milan and Turin, which were highly individualised in the turn of the century.  There was an artistic revolt against the static nature of  art – hung on a wall, stood on a pedestal.  They wanted to replace that immobility with a reference to the movement and mechanism of their industrial cities.

They were very expressive, with an effort to be modern.  They wished to show the beauty of movement, of speed, the excitement in crowds, trains rolling and puffing steam, generating vibrations of movement and excitement.  They wished to show the beauty of  the labour of men, plus the pleasure of the sense of rebellion, and the joy about the various revolutions going on in Art.

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The Cyclist – Natalia Goncharova – 1913

Futurism was an attempt to bring art to the machine age, trying to express artistically man’s movement through time and space, and the mechanics of the age.  They were influenced by Seurat and Divisionalism.  They saw the inter-relation and inter-reaction of planes of volume, of light and colour, of different view-points (the influence of Cubism), plus were influenced by the camera, the cinema, movies made by quickly flickering still photos.  They superimposed shapes one over the other – Duchamp’s NUDE DESCENDING A STAIRCASE (movement through time and space).

Gino Severini was strongly influenced by Cubist theories.  He created movement with the colour.  The Futurists emphasised lines of force to create a sense of after-image.  Giacomo Balla depicted speed itself – he was interested in the movement of the dog, rather than the image of the dog. Umberto Boccioni talked about modernism, but his works were based on traditional means.

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Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash – Balla

They called themselves Futurists because they wanted to create art for the future – man’s transience in nature, importance of machinery in man’s life – to become more animated, more automotive.  Some of their subjects were: cars, trains, busy streets, bicycles, automobiles, a cascade of people.  Their titles usually included words like: speed, force, dynamism – to express the idea of movement itself.  Futurists influenced others in their era, with an ideal to represent movement in art.

OPTICAL ART – KINETIC ART – was that which really produced movement in art, particularly in sculpture (Calder’s mobiles).  It was art in motion, created with very modern materials: plastics, strobe-lights, machinery (whizz, pop, bang), and used sound and music.  Their purpose was to produce an unlimited variation of pattern, and to produce an active response from the spectator.  They definitely brought movement into art.  (Brancusi’s FISH was a motorised sculpture on a pedestal).

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The White Face – Calder – painted sheet metal, rod, wire.

Alexander Calder: an American, put his emphasis on mass, on movement in space, and airy light shapes. He created space, time and movement with his mobiles – Duchamp gave them the name, mobiles, Calder had called them Space-cages.  He was an engineer and a blacksmith, and introduced sculpture that actually moved, via air currents, hand-cranking, or electrification.  He was aware of welding techniques.

His shapes were often abstract, geometric, influenced by Miro, Arp, and Mondrian.  From Mondrian he got the primary colours, from Arp the use of organic shapes, and from Miro the use of the surreal and whimsical.  He used modern materials such as sheet metal, wire, and created special realms of fantasy and play, which we unique to humans.  His work was considered Kinetic – it really  moves (actual movement).

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Eagle (Seattle) – Calder

Optical Art appears to move – is implied or simulated movement, based on the perception of the viewer.  It gives the illusion of movement while the painting is actually static.  Op Art continued the research of the Impressionists into light and colour.  It leaves the world of nature to go into non-representational imagery.  It is based on the unique manipulation of perspective and colour relationships.  They wanted to explore the possibility of human perception, of looking at the psychological response to colour (Seurat and Kandinsky), and reactions to linear configurations (Seurat and Mondrian).  They wanted to extend the visual sensations of sight and how we see things move.  Op Art is Formal rather than expressive.

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Painting – Calder – Screenprint

Victor Vasarely:  was Hungarian, who activates the paintingg surface by meticulous manipulation of colour and shape in a Formal and technically expert way.  He used geometric shapes, tonal balance, contrastinb colours, creating ambiguous directions in his work.  He was considered the originator of OP ART.  He created the illusions of tensions – animated stillness.

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OP ART – Vasarely – Sign sculpture (Hungary)

Jacob (Yaakov) Agam:   developed art which the spectator had to move around, to shift their viewpoints, to create a continual change (virtual movement by viewer).

Bridget Riley:  was British and the sensation of the 60’s.  She analysed Pointillism, bent-line perspective, positive force, violent turbulence, and the illusions created by these.  She worked out the designs on small pieces of paper, then when it worked she transferred the design onto the large canvas, and her assistants painted it with her carefully mixed colours.

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Dizengoff Square Fountain – Agam;  Bridget Riley in front of her work 1968

NB: If you choose to quote from this blog please cite its URL in your Bibliography.

Jud House   6/10/2016

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