Richard Anuszkiewicz (whose last name is pronounced Ah-nuss-kay-vitch) is an American artist closely tied to the founding of the Optical Art movement. The Op Art master, who is currently 83 years old, is considered to be a living legend of the Contemporary Art world. At Vertu Fine Art, our Boca Raton gallery that’s widely known for our collection of Pop, Abstract Expressionist and Optical Art, Anuszkiewicz is among the Op Artists we find most compelling.
In addition to his studies at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Anuszkiewicz trained with Joseph Albers at the Yale University School of Art and Architecture. Albers, who brought his Bauhaus-inspired teachings from Germany to Black Mountain College and then Yale, is known for his profound influence on artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly and Ray Johnson. Richard Anuszkiewicz was equally influenced by Joseph Albers, perhaps most importantly by Albers’ theories about color interactions and chromaticity.
At the same time that Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley were creating works that would gain worldwide attention for Op Art in Europe, during the 1960s and 1970s, Richard Anuszkiewicz was experimenting with painting and printmaking that would prove most provocative to the mind’s eye of art collectors − initially here in the U.S.
Hip to Be Square
Much like Joseph Albers, who received much acclaim for his Homage to the Square (1965) series of works, Anuszkiewicz also found a perfect framework for his compositions within the symmetrical friendly square as well. Considering that Optical Art often relies on mathematical calculations to carry out one’s investigations systematically, it’s not uncommon to choose a shape that supports the grid system so substantially.
Critics and Collectors often describe Anuszkiewicz’ works as though the patterns of varying color densities appear to hold back light, periodically and even intermittently allowing said light to seep out from porous areas of the composition.
In Orange Family, an original acrylic on panel currently hanging at VFA in Boca Raton, Richard Anuszkiewicz treats us to another illusory aspect of his works – a warm glow. As if plugged in, or backlit or side lighted, this work is one that often holds the gaze of visitors, who seem to bask in the mysterious control of the artist, able to trap light from the room and return it to our vision as we feel the vibrations of its pulse.
American Primary Hue (1964) is a fine example of an Anuszkiewicz work that creates enhanced Optical illusions for the viewer. Moment by moment, the masterpiece presents a variety of layers and strobe effects, with a solid middle square holding back light that escapes from its corners. In doing so, the white space plays tricks on the mind, apparently revealing square rings of varying depths. Lines move in from the outside of this work as though they seek out the inner box one moment, emanating from the inside out toward us the next.
Over the past seven decades, Op Artist Richard Anuszkiewicz has been the recipient of an impressive number of grants and awards. His exhibits and public collections around the country and internationally continue to stun audiences. Currently, his works can be seen in a number of impressive museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Harvard University’s Fogg Museum and New York’s Guggenheim, MOMA, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Whitney Museum of Art.
If, like us, you enjoy the works of this impressive American Op Art master, visit us and view Anuszkiewicz here at our Boca Raton gallery. If you’re seeking a particular Richard Anuszkiewicz work − contact us and we’ll be glad to help.