M. C. Escher, Dalí and Duchamp were old champs at the art of visual manipulation, but modern-day artists are digitally and traditionally creating cognitive illusions that force a double take. Flat surfaces are turned cavernous with colored chalk, simple graphics are laced with hidden images and ordinary photos are turned into surreal landscapes.
There’s a market for visual trickery, a history of it and a delight when Gestalt theories are interrupted, supported and all together set on end. Don’t be frustrated if you don’t see the illusions on first glance, just look twice.
1. Damien Gilley
Portland-based multi-disciplinary artist Damien Gilley creates immense depth on flat surfaces and walls using only colored strips of tape and contact paper. His designs are meticulously measured and calculated considering the unique proportions and dimensions of each space where he constructs his art. The geometry of his work makes flat surfaces appear to have immense depth and space.
2. Leandro Erlich
We were first transfixed by one of Argentina-based Leandro Erlich’s pieces when he revealed his mirrored street art instillation in Paris. People seemingly dangled from the third floor windows of a Paris flat while others perched precariously on roofs and scaled the sides. In reality, a life-sized building facade was constructed on the ground, while a giant mirror projected the image. Another of his instillations, “L’ultime Déménagement,” is a sculpture of a giant piece of a building facade, anchored to the ground by nothing more than a ladder.
3. Tang Yau Hoong
Self-taught, Malaysia-based illustrator Tang Yau Hoong toys with negative space and light to create conceptual, surreal illustrations that are nothing short of delightful. He makes cityscapes morph into nature scenes and plays with the physics of light.