Rimtautas Gibavičius (19351993).
Vaikystės prisiminimai IV.
1977, cinkografija, 51 x 50,5
Netikras labirintas nr. 2.
1971, drobė, akrilas, 199 x 283
Vaikystės prisiminimai VI.
1980, cinkografija, 49 x 50
Glance of A Responsive Eye
As the ideas and
style of Optical Art (born in the middle of the 1960s in Western Europe
and the USA) come back into trend, it offers an occasion to look for
some manifestations of the style in Lithuanian art.
Kazys Varnelis and Kazimieras Žoromskis were two Lithuanian artists
actively involved in the movement in America.
Canvases of Varnelis feature geometrical motifs, which are half lit,
half concealed in the shadow. The colour scheme in the early work is
restricted to white and black. His geometrical motifs derive from Lithuanian
folk patterns applied in decorating churches and buildings in the painters
native Samogitia (north-western Lithuania). Rhythm is the most persistent
and recurrent feature of his art. Musical nature of his canvases results
from rhythm, which also contributes greatly to the expressivity of the
artists oeuvre. It is also a means of creating the illusion of
three-dimensional space. He fuses symbols, ornamental patterns and a
recurrent rhythm to achieve the final effect. His canvases transform
the viewer emotionally, setting him into meditative mood. His works
of the 1970s stand apart through their sculptural dimension.
Two elements colour and line are key in the Op period of Kazimieras
Žoromskis. Under the impact of Impressionism, he explores the
colour-shadow relationship. The artist draws his motifs from nature
and his immediate surroundings: trees, grass, air, and people. Each
painting is composed of two plains colour background and either
vertical or horizontal rhythm of lines. Special arrangements of tones
and hues enable the artist to create the impression of splitting colour
into separate shafts of light spreading across the painting. To achieve
the illusion of perspective through manipulation of colour, the artist
relies on his knowledge of the colour spectrum.
In Lithuanian graphic arts, optical effects are employed more frequently.
Optical experiments of the graphic artist Romualdas Čarna are
inspired by patterns and symbols of Lithuanian woven cloth. Disappearing
and reemerging elements in his prints (series Lithuanian Op Art)
may be associated with the rhythm typical of Lithuanian folk songs.
Though decorative in nature, these works also carry symbolical and emotional
information. The illusion of three-dimensional space is obvious in the
colour series of prints Nocturne by Arvydas Každailis.
Situated in the background of his prints, vertical bands divide space
into separate areas, creating the illusion of movement. Geometrical
illusion is achieved in book illustrations by Vladislovas Žilius.
His illustrations for poetry books and books for children strike by
decorativeness, typical of Op Art, and some Vasarelian features. Besides
geometrical patterns, he also employs floral motives to achieve the
impression of movement. Dalia Mataitienė, the artist working in
the field of stage design, has also created some independent ornamental
pieces interesting in the exploitation of optical means. The graphic
artist Rimtautas Gibavičius manipulates architectural elements
or a negative and positive of the image to achieve the illusion of three-dimensional
The works of the period from the 1960s through the 1990s by Lithuanian
artists offer only partial parallels with Western Optical Art. Lithuanian
artists, due to historical circumstances and national sensibility, focused
on the representational aspect of art. The three-dimensional abstract
image has not become a rational agenda of their art.