PDN Photo of the Day

Tricking the Eye with Newspaper and String

Looking at Zeke Berman’s handsome tabletop still lifes can be a bit like looking at a drawing by M.C. Escher—at first glance the structures check out—here is a bottle, a spoon, a flowerpot, resting on a wooden surface. But on closer examination, space becomes topsy-turvy, and Berman’s witty ruses start to reveal themselves. His photographs from the 1980s, on view at Julie Saul Gallery in New York until February 20, use the building blocks of representation to construct visual puzzles that explore how vision works. They ask how a line describes volume, and how perspective and foreshortening conspire to depict a cube. Working with natural light in the studio and using the simplest of props – string, cloth, a basket of fruit, a vase, a jar, and newspaper (which the gallery says is a reference to Cubism), Berman’s images are illusions that never hide how they were made. At first glance, a vase and a bottle of wine rest on a table held up by wooden legs. But the cardboard table actually lies flat on the studio floor—the illusion of volume is created by carefully working with perspective. The tools he uses to trick the eye—an array of clamps and supports and black velvet drapes—are in full view, but the magic of his images is still beguiling.

Related Stories:

Erin O’Keefe: Perspective, Light, Color

Jessica Eaton’s Abstract Analogue Photographs

Turning Objects Into Ideas

Posted in:

Conceptual/Still Life


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