For her latest series “Representations,” Detroit-based artist Cynthia Greig relies on viewers’ well-conditioned expectations for what an artistic representation traditionally is—a 3D object rendered into two dimensions. While at first glance Greig’s pieces appear to conform to this expectation, a closer look reveals a startling discovery; what the viewer is looking at is actually three-dimensional.
To create her optical illusions, Greig selects an object (she appears to have a preference for somewhat outdated ones), coats it in a layer of white paint, and colors in the edges with charcoal. These techniques make the objects appear as if they were sketched quickly in a drawing book. Her work challenges viewers to re-think how they perceive objects.
“I’m interested in how we learn to see, identify, and remember, and the role images play in the codification of perceptual and mnemonic experience. By denying certain aesthetic expectations and assumptions, ‘Representations’ intends to interrupt a more conventional, passive viewing experience, and provoke the viewer into seeing a photograph as if for the first time,” Greig says of her work.