Artists Challenge Perspective in Scale Shift Exhibit

Scale Shift: Large and Small Works is the current exhibit available in the Siegal Gallery at Iacocca Hall. This exhibit was thought-provoking and honed on perspective. Each unique piece highlighted the effects of perception when it comes to the size of objects in the artwork. When creating this exhibit, the curator emphasized complexities of size through the placement of large works next to small pieces, showing vast contrasts. Photographs, realistic pieces, abstract art, and more are seen in this perspective challenging exhibit.

This first piece that stuck out to me was a 1974 Naoto Nakagawa acrylic on canvas titled Silent Vision. When first looking at the piece, it seems simple, showing the fundamentals between the different sizes of various objects. But, at  second glance, the proportions seem disproportionate. The rain boots, for instance, seem small compared to the television and binoculars, but large compared to the guitar. Both certain and unsettling, Silent Vision shows how artists can toy with the idea of perspective.

Silent Vision by Naoto Nakagawa. Photo credits Stephanie Hayes.

At first Tom Nakashima’s Barabar’s Grill acrylic on canvas did not look to me like it had anything to do with scale. Confused, I looked to my design major friend, asking her for an expert’s opinion. “Well, what do you think those patterns are? Maybe close-up, old-fashion upholstery on a couch? It could be anything,” she responded. My mind ran with the idea–  envisioning painted wooden floors, stripes of wallpaper, ceramic flower pots, colorful sundresses, and, like she suggested, the pattern on the couch in my grandmother’s home. From far away the patterns looked smooth; with my nose almost touching the canvas, I saw white space, pencil and eraser marks, and uneven lines. The painting made me feel small, as though I shrunk down to the size of a mouse, giving myself the ability to see all of the details.

Barabar’s Grill by Tom Nakashima’s. Photo credits Stephanie Hayes.

This last piece was my favorite of the exhibit. Urging me to reach out and grab the canvas, James Havard’s acrylic on canvas, Arikara, offers an eccentric mix of paint strokes and crayon markings. Havard creates shadows, making messy paint strokes appear three-dimensional. Two colorful strokes placed horizontally across the piece create the illusion of handlebars up for grabs. The use of light takes two-dimensional art and allows the paint strokes to take up physical space, defying dimensions. This piece drew me in with its impractical and unconventional qualities.

Arikara by James Harvard. Photo credits Stephanie Hayes.

The exhibit also includes a variety of smaller pieces and photographs, all of which challenge the viewer’s perception of size. Thought-provoking and fascinating, Scale Shift warped my previous understanding of shape and sizes. These pieces of art tricked my mind and showed how powerfully art can impact perspective. This exhibit is available until May 24, 2019. Hours of Operation:Monday through Thursday 9 AM – 10 PM,  Friday 9 AM- 5 PM.

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