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Traversing the Highwire from Pop to Optical

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Lichtenstein's cartoon style of representation can be seen as an ironic commentary on the elitism of art, implying that art is merely a selection from the endless variety of images that bombard us... Such effects represent a resonance with so-called optical art (“op art”), a style promoted in the mid 1960s—by Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely, in particular—that relies on visual illusion generated at the early levels of the nervous system: the retinal, the receptoral, the oculomotor, and the neural... Despite its name, it is not concerned with strictly optical effects such as diffraction, diffusion, interference, scintillation, polarization, and related optical phenomena... It is concerned with the visual and perceptual effects of dancing grids, jazzy dots, clashing colors, sliding waves, and so on... Indeed, he plays with the dot-screen as a theme in his later works, notably in the vast Mirror in Six Panels (1971), which shows nothing but the mirror surface reflecting empty space, apparently rendered in the transparent sheets of Benday dots in common use by graphic artists... Refreshingly, this is one of the few works that does not contain references to other art genres, but jousts with the concept of the image itself, again a reflection of nothing at all... Here Lichtenstein abandons the cartoon-style bravura of line and text bubbles in a triplet of silk-screen close-ups of Monet's painterly impressions, differing only in the choice of colors for the three panels... In Lichtenstein's Monet, the shimmer of the isoluminance interplays with the shimmer of the dot-screen to evoke a visual enigma, as we explore the image space to see whether the structure is indeed the same as in the flanking panels... Very few artists have played with the power of isoluminance to achieve this role in form processing: Lichtenstein seems to have been on to this property a decade earlier than Gregory, although he soon retreats back to the boldness of his cartoon pop-art style to explore a potpourri of the icons of classic sources... Why does repeated fine-grain structure wreak such havoc with our visual stability? This question was raised, in particular, by Donald MacKay with his high-density radial ray figure (Figure 1), which generates powerful complementary effects in both current viewing and as an aftereffect... Just why high-density dots and lines elicit such powerful responses from our visual apparatus remains unexplained... Indeed, the issue does not seem even to be a topic of current research interest, despite the proliferation of research activities in visual processing in general.

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Traversing the Highwire from Pop to Optical
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View Article: PubMed Central

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

Lichtenstein's cartoon style of representation can be seen as an ironic commentary on the elitism of art, implying that art is merely a selection from the endless variety of images that bombard us... Such effects represent a resonance with so-called optical art (“op art”), a style promoted in the mid 1960s—by Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely, in particular—that relies on visual illusion generated at the early levels of the nervous system: the retinal, the receptoral, the oculomotor, and the neural... Despite its name, it is not concerned with strictly optical effects such as diffraction, diffusion, interference, scintillation, polarization, and related optical phenomena... It is concerned with the visual and perceptual effects of dancing grids, jazzy dots, clashing colors, sliding waves, and so on... Indeed, he plays with the dot-screen as a theme in his later works, notably in the vast Mirror in Six Panels (1971), which shows nothing but the mirror surface reflecting empty space, apparently rendered in the transparent sheets of Benday dots in common use by graphic artists... Refreshingly, this is one of the few works that does not contain references to other art genres, but jousts with the concept of the image itself, again a reflection of nothing at all... Here Lichtenstein abandons the cartoon-style bravura of line and text bubbles in a triplet of silk-screen close-ups of Monet's painterly impressions, differing only in the choice of colors for the three panels... In Lichtenstein's Monet, the shimmer of the isoluminance interplays with the shimmer of the dot-screen to evoke a visual enigma, as we explore the image space to see whether the structure is indeed the same as in the flanking panels... Very few artists have played with the power of isoluminance to achieve this role in form processing: Lichtenstein seems to have been on to this property a decade earlier than Gregory, although he soon retreats back to the boldness of his cartoon pop-art style to explore a potpourri of the icons of classic sources... Why does repeated fine-grain structure wreak such havoc with our visual stability? This question was raised, in particular, by Donald MacKay with his high-density radial ray figure (Figure 1), which generates powerful complementary effects in both current viewing and as an aftereffect... Just why high-density dots and lines elicit such powerful responses from our visual apparatus remains unexplained... Indeed, the issue does not seem even to be a topic of current research interest, despite the proliferation of research activities in visual processing in general.

No MeSH data available.