Born in Tokyo, Japan, Larry Poons (b. 1937) became a prominent figure in Optical Art and in the Color-Field school of painting in New York. His paintings of the 1960s were characterized by dots of color placed according to a horizontal vertical and diagonal grid against a rich colored ground. The effect was a sense of movement–thus Optical Art. In 1965, he exhibited with the Op Artists, but the next year, his art became looser with small colored shapes floating in space. From that time, he changed to expressionism and abstraction. Poons has also created Earth Art such as his “cracked earth landscapes”. For these he uses layers of heavy impasto to create the effect of flowing lava and craggy plateaus.
A musician before becoming a painter, Larry Poons studied at the New England Conservatory of Music from 1955 to 1957, and was much influenced by the experimental compositions of John Cage. His interest in abstraction, especially the geometric forms of Piet Mondrian led him to painting, and in 1959, he studied at the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts. He resides in New York City and has maintained a studio in Florida.
His work is found in private, corportate, and museum collections around the world, including Art Institute of Chicago; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; Tate Gallery, London.