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Hard Edges, Vibrant Colors: Op Art from the Permanent Collection

June 21 — September 1, 2024

Popular in the mid-late 20th century, many artists experimented with Optical (“Op”) Art in their artmaking practice. A subfield within the growing genre of Geometric Abstraction, Op Art often explores the interplay between geometry, tonal variations, and sharp, defined bands of color, all of which rely upon the viewer’s perceptions.

Hard Edges, Vibrant Colors offers over a dozen works from the Dennos Museum Center’s permanent art collection—many of which have never been exhibited before. Gifted between the years 1993 and 2024, we are grateful to Denison University, Rudolf and Mary Arnheim, Eugene I. Schuster, and Chris and Anita Scussel for their generous support.


Roy Ahlgren (American, 1927-2011) created a large body of Op Art prints throughout his lifetime. Largely self-taught, Ahlgren created prints for decades and, like Rowland, relied upon mathematical precision to render his geometric “landscapes.”

Jurgen Peters (German, b. 1936) …“was a very well-known optical artist in the 1970s [and] was a known contemporary of Victor Vasarely, Yaacov Agam and Briget Riley” ( How does Peters’s work compare and contrast to that of his American contemporaries on display in this gallery?

Mark Rowland (American, b. 1953) embeds mathematical patterns and proportions into his serigraphy (screen printing) process.

Julian Stanczak (American, 1928-2017) was a prolific painter and printmaker. In Stanczak’s own words: The primary drive of colors is to give birth to light. But light always changes; it is evasive.” How do Op Art prints challenge our perceptions of light and depth?

Lastly, Jakob Weder (Swiss, 1906-1990) had a passion for both the visual arts as well as music. He worked with a variety of media, including printmaking (silkscreen and lithography) as well as painting (oil and tempera paint).

Image: Jurgen Peters, Arc. 1976, Serigraph 25/175. From the collection of the Dennos Museum Center. Gift of Anita and Christopher Scussel. 2020.2.1. Detail.