"MOVEMENT IN SQUARES"
Bridget Riley (1981), Wikipedia
"(AN) OP-ART DESIGN"
Woven coverlet design, 19th c.
(Grid = 35 x 35)
Top - Right to Left =
(AN) ARRANGEMENT OF SMALL PIECES traces back to the The Kansas City Star (1928-1960) and is one of very few quilt blocks that actually describes the art of quilt making — as if one were assembling a cosmic puzzle, the art of designing and piecing together innumerable small tessera. (For pattern templates, see 500 FULL SIZE PATCHWORK PATTERNS by Maggie Malone, 1985).
In contemporary art, however, a design like this would probably be styled as Op Art. Optical creations are usually produced by an arrangement of a great many small pieces, demanding so much from the eye, and often (by receding to the center) seeming to pulse or to be in motion, so that the image becomes dizzying and staggering. To make it art, there is always some sort of color harmony, or simplifying use of black and white, so as to transcend the sense of over-powering.
But if it is possible to claim a quilt design as Op Art, the reverse is true as well. One of the all time great Op artists, and still active in the current era, is the British artist Bridget Riley (b. 1931): her MOVEMENT IN SQUARES illustrated left might easily inspire in quiltdom a whole new genre of Op Art quilt designs. See OPTICAL ILLUSIONS FOR QUILTERS (with traditional patterns and templates) by Karen Combs. See additional Riley designs at MONKEY PUZZLE and with recommended books.
Also illustrated left is a pattern included in THE PERFECT PATCHWORK PRIMER (#283) by Beth Gutcheon (pub. 1973), referred to simply as "OP-ART DESIGN" and which dates back to 19th century woven coverlets. Among many tessellations available in the compendiums to dazzle the eye, more optical quilt themes at this site include:
A THOUSAND PYRAMIDS
SUNSHINE AND SHADOW
ON THE SQUARE