Optical Art and Hogarth: Two Shows to Open

Shows featuring paintings by three artists who helped define optical art and prints by William Hogarth, satirical chronicler of 18th century British society, will open Aug. 26 at the Wake Forest University Fine Arts Gallery.

Both shows draw from the collections of Wake Forest alumni.

“Color Function Painting: The Art of Josef Albers, Julian Stanczak and Richard Anuszkiewicz” features 23 paintings and four prints from the collection of Neil K. Rector, a 1980 graduate of Wake Forest.

“Prints by William Hogarth” includes 42 prints from the collection of Dr. Herbert M. Schiller, a Winston-Salem physician and 1964 Wake Forest graduate.

All three artists represented in the “Color Function Painting” exhibit were included in the 1965 exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art titled “The Responsive Eye,” which became known as the definitive show of optical art. Critics coined the phrase optical art in response to a 1964 exhibit by Julian Stanczak titled “Julian Stanczak–Optical Paintings.”

Stanczak will present a lecture at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, in Scales Fines Arts Center, Room 102, followed by an opening reception in the gallery lobby.

Included in the Hogarth exhibit, which spans Hogarth’s printmaking career, are such well-known images as “Marriage-a-la-mode” and “Industry and Idleness.”

Dr. Schiller began collecting Hogarth’s prints not only for their precision, but for the historical perspective on 18th century English society they provide.

Themes in Hogarth’s work include the evils of idleness, shown in “Industry and Idleness,” the hypocrisy of the church, shown in “A Harlot’s Progress” and “The Sleeping Congregation,” and the consequences of immorality, shown in “The Four Stages of Cruelty” and “Gin Lane.”

A copy of Hogarth’s book on aesthetics, “The Analysis of Beauty,” is also included in the exhibit.

The two shows will begin Wake Forest’s Year of the Arts, a year-long celebration of the arts including concerts, a symposium, visiting artists and numerous other special events.

The exhibits run through Oct. 25.

Admission to the Sept. 20 lecture and the gallery is free. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays and 1-5 p.m. weekends.

For information, call 759-5585.

Categories: Events, Media Advisory