New Treacheries of the Eye

8/3/2021


New Treacheries of the Eye

Internationally acclaimed artist Craig Alan recently exhibited new works at the Porrentruy Optical Art Museum (POPA) in Porrentruy, Switzerland as a featured artist in “Art & Illusion: 10 Masters of Optical Art and Neo-Pointillism.” Indeed, through his highly sought-after Populus series, Craig Alan has mastered the “teachery of the eye” described by René Magritte in his immortal work La trahison des images (Ceci n’est pas une pipe). Somewhat innocuously, Craig was inspired to create these images after having his own eye tricked by the appearance of a crowd of people below as he observed a wedding party from a high-up balcony. From this elevated vantage point, the supposedly random crowd of people seemed to appear as a single cohesive image of a human eye-- voilà! 

The illusory qualities of Craig’s work resonate throughout the artistic practice of other artists represented by Connect Contemporary, like highly decorated photographer Parish Kohanim. In his Stripe Study series, Parish initiated the human form into the realm of brain-bending optical illusions. It is irrelevant whether the work is viewed on a lighted screen or with one’s naked eyeballs in a gallery exhibition. The artist’s immaculate arrangement of line on the body and backdrop confuses the eye by creating the illusion of glitching movement, whether one’s gaze is restless or unmoving. 


Parish Kohanim

Stripe Study II, 2019

Henrik Abedian’s approach to betraying the eye relies on the immutable laws of physics -- e=mc² -- to define the limits of opticality. ...And It's Not a Bad Thing! (2019) plays with this law using a perfect mirror surface that confronts the viewer with their own image, which many people mistakenly assume reflects their image instantaneously, leaving no gap between past and present. This mistaken assumption can be blamed on the limits of our biology. The “speed limit” of light as theorized by Albert Einstein reveals that the reflected image must endure a commute before reaching its destination! The light that reflects one’s image takes approximately 1.7x10⁹ seconds to travel from a face to the mirror, then from the mirror to one’s cornea before it can be processed by the brain. Abedian highlights this slight delay by reminding the viewer that it is physically impossible to see an image of oneself in a single instant, although it is only mere fractions of a second of difference. We can only ever experience an image of ourselves as we were in the past, never how we are in the present.

...And It's Not a Bad Thing! by Henrik Abedian

Henrik Abedian 

...And It's Not a Bad Thing!, 2019


Explore Connect Contemporary's Artsy profile to see what artwork is currently available from Craig Alan, Parish Kohanim, Henrik Abedian, and more contemporary fine artists.