Tuesday, July 27, 2010

M.C. Escher: Impossible Reality, a review

I had an opportunity last week to see an amazing show of M.C. Escher's work which was really, really fascinating...M.C. Escher: Impossible Reality

The exhibit is at the New Britain Museum of American Art.

Didn't they do a fabulous job with the entrance to the show?  Although I will probably never share Escher's fascination with the problems of perspective, infinity, tessellations and complex geometric forms I have recently been pulled back to an interest in drawing, working in monochrome and print making, so this exhibit held many interesting things for me.

I was particularly struck by his early landscape ink drawings from the 1920's, something I never knew Escher did.  Field Stalks was very memorable. An ink drawing, it contains fanciful elements yet also gives the impression of being accurately based on wildflowers and grasses at the edge of a field. The overall effect is graceful despite the graphic nature of being a black and white work.

In Cloister of Monreale Sicily, Nocturnal Rome: Santa Maria del Popolo, and Nocturnal Rome: Colonnade of St. Peter's, I was captivated by the imaginative and interpretive ways Escher manipulates the woodcut to create the close values of a night scene.

Another surprise were some sculpture studies, again a medium that I was unaware that Escher worked in. Sphere with Fish,below, and Verblifa Tin, featuring starfish and scallop shells on a 20 sided icosahedron brought Escher's 2D illusions into the 3 D world.

Verblifa Tin, MC Escher

Another little gem was Seashells   a mezzotinmt ( mezzo= half, tinto=tone) which I found to be exact, precise and lovely.

Dewdrop is also worth a mention, a mezzotint of a leaf holding a dewdrop which reflects a window and simultaneously magnifies the veins and structure of the leaf itself.

Two more nature themed pieces that caught my eye were Three Worlds,a lithograph and Puddle, a woodcut.

Three Worlds, MC Escher

Puddle, MC Escher

Puddle is a complex scene looking down into a puddle where the water reflects back trees which look almost Japanese in style along with a full moon. The muddy edges contain footprints, tire tracks and bicycle tracks lending a narrative quality to the work.

This is a large exhibit and contains many of Escher's more well known works, which contain optical illusions and impossibly complex perspective... go to the Official MC Escher Website to view a large collection of his work.

I had included many of the works I reviewed here until I found this on the MC Escher Official Website International Copyright laws protect all of the work of M.C. Escher. Any reproduction of his work, including downloading, is prohibited without the express written permission of the copyright holder.

So I removed all the images I was going to share except for the two sculptures which apparently are facsimiles which can be purchased in museum gift shops, links are included. Enjoy!

1 comment:

AutumnLeaves said...

I learn so much from your blog, Jan. Thanks!