Monday, September 20, 2010

Fool the Eye

Should you wonder why I've suddenly upped my blog writing in the last few weeks, it's because I'm simultaneously avoiding writing my thesis and helping myself write my thesis. I'm avoiding, well, because that's just what I do. But I'm helping because somehow, these posts get my brain in the right place to crank out 4,000 words or so about a man, an exhibition, and a country on the verge of being wowed by studio craft.

Fool the Eye is the literal translation of "trompe l'oeil." It's one of my favorite art techniques. I've always wanted to attempt it, but lack of skill and direction hindered it in the past. It's going on the list of things to do later in life.

Lest you think this post is about musing of no coherent nature, direct your eyes back to the top of the page. This is an amazing piece of trompe l'oeil. I discovered it in my roam through the Luce Center last week and was instantly struck by it. I noticed it must be a pretty recent acquisition as its accession number is 2009.45. It's all clay. The corrugated cardboard: clay. The books: clay. The wheels: clay. Amazing, isn't it?

Unfortunately, this piece, titled Bookmobile, is so new that the Luce Center site tells you that research is being done on this piece and you should return later to learn more. I dug a little to find out about the artist: Sylvia Hyman. She works in Nashville, TN, and her work is all trompe l'oeil. I could write more, but others have done a much better job as you can read here.

I'm very interested in the books featured in this piece. There are several clay books, including Bernard Leach's, a copy of The Cat in the Hat, Plato, and Julia Child's French Cooking. Sadly, the picture doesn't show you several of the other books, one of which I recall is about music. I'm excited to learn more about this piece and why she chose to include these works.

For now, though I'll just be mesmerized by her skill.

Photo Credit: Smithsonian American Art Museum

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