William Morris, American, born 1957. Zande Man, 2001. Blown glass, steel stand. 26 x 16 x 16 inches. Courtesy of the Isabel Foundation, L2017.120. Photo credit: Douglas Schaible Photography

Double Take

October 26, 2019 - February 23, 2020

Harris - Burger Gallery

Have you ever looked at a work of art and wondered, “What is that made of?” Perhaps it’s a ceramic vase that looks like glass, or a wood sculpture that looks like bone. Artists often manipulate the properties of one medium to appear like something else. The contemporary objects in this exhibition build on the historical tradition of trompe l’oeil, which translates from French to “deceive the eye.” While some artists intentionally try to make one material look like another, others are simply exploring the versatility of the medium. 

Whether intentional or not, artworks featured in Double Take toy with your eyes to raise questions about the nature of art and perception. Rather than focusing on the natural beauty of glass, William Morris uses the medium’s ability to transform into wood, bone, fiber, and sinew. Steven Montgomery’s painted ceramics explore the changes caused by time and environment. What looks to be an old rusted nut is, in reality, a hand-painted ceramic sculpture. These objects are sure to keep you guessing and may just make you do a double take.

From the Exhibition

  • Steven Montgomery, American, born 1954. Test Site, 2006. Painted ceramic, 23 × 27 × 8 in. (58.4 × 68.6 ×20.3 cm). Gift of Marilynn and Ivan Karp 2008.325

  • David Giese, American, born 1944. Arcadia Personified, 1992. Concrete, painted and mixed media. 79 x 60 x 16 inches. Gift of Ethan Karp, 2010.243

  • Margaret Keelan, Canadian, born 1948. Robin, 2008. Ceramic. 25 x 5 x 6 inches. Museum purchase with funds from the Collection Endowment, 2016.34

  • Thomas Pfannerstill, American, born 1951. Budweiser (Box), 1995. Acrylic on wood. 16 1/4 x 15 1/4 x 1 inches. Gift of the Friends of Modern Art, 1998.4