"The Shape of Things: An Exhibition by Stanford Slutsky" Explores the Range of Op Art

There's not much middle ground with op art. Either you're exhilarated by the mathematical precision of its lines and shapes and the illusion of movement generated by its juxtapositions of forms and bright colors or your mind and eye find those same ingredients taxing. As a proud member of the former camp, I was thrilled to learn that the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale has given Stanford Slutsky a miniretrospective. Op, short for optical, had its peak in the mid-1960s with such artists as Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley, but the prolific Slutsky has kept it alive in South Florida, where he remains one of its foremost practitioners. There are scarcely two dozen works in the show, but many of them are large, and the school has smartly given them plenty of breathing space. Indeed, an overcrowded op exhibition would be horrific to behold. There are shaped canvases here as well as works that have been built up layer by painstaking layer. There are works that depend on rows upon rows of tiny wooden dowels for their effects and works that seem to glow from within, thanks to precise manipulations of pigment. Slutsky is an artist who has found his niche and taken full advantage of it — the show as a whole gives a great sense of the range of possibilities of op. This is highly varied stuff, and I mean that in the best possible way.

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