Eye of the beholder

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Colors, lines and patterns are some of the basic building blocks of art, but so much can be accomplished with these three elements.

New exhibits at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., all examine the ways artists use these elements to intrigue and exercise the eye.

Perception: Color │ Line │ Pattern collects the works of 21 artists who experiment with these elements. Victor Vasarely — Works on paper and Yaacov Agam — Works on paper, take a look at two masters of the craft. All three exhibits run through Aug. 25 in the Center’s three galleries.

Both Vasarely and Agam are fathers of the “op” art movement, which sprung out of the abstract and minimalist styles, hitting its peak in the 1960s, according to curatorial assistant Kristin Bueb.

“I really connect the op movement with the kinetic movement because they both rely on movement in unique ways,” said Arvada Center exhibition manager and curator Collin Parson. “We received the works from collector David Goodman, and this collection has never been shown before.”

Parson noted that both Vasarely and Agam were painters, and what is on display is screen prints of their works.

Bueb said that both artists were interested in using colors, lines and patterns to create a new artistic language — a goal Vasarely succeed in with his “Alphabet Plastique.” In this language, colors and shapes — the alphabet’s letters — are manipulated to create unique works that go beyond two dimensions.

The work of both men require the viewer to move as they look at the works to get the full effect of each piece. Many of the works leap out at the viewer, and what can be seen in the art will change as the viewer’s perspective does.

The influence of Vasarely and Agam can still be found in modern art, and has branched out into the fashion world, as well.

“We have some examples of fashion influenced by Vasarely’s designs on display,” Bueb said. “Even as recently as this year, you can still see they way the fashion world has used his designs.”

To compliment the Vasarely and Agam exhibits, the Perception exhibition brings together 21 artists and spans 63 years (the oldest work is from 1951). According to Parson, many of the perception art pieces came out of the first hippie communes and counter-culture centers.

The pieces vary in style and medium, from images that give the appearance of 3D, to 3D works that give the appearance of being 2D. There are also interactive video installations that take the colors the viewer is wearing and integrate them into the piece.