Illusions of Grandeur in Three Dimensions

Todays News

BY ANDREW FABIAN SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY MAR 13, 2020

The Chalk Festival already has a well-documented reputation for hosting some of the most talented vertigo-inducing street artists the world over, and through May 31, the region will get to see what some of these artists can do on a vertical surface. Denise Kowal, the festival’s founder and chair, has added another immersive exhibition to the festival’s programming with the 3D Illusion Museum. Operating out of the Ice House on 10th Street, the museum features installations from some of the chalk festival’s A-list, including Eduardo Relero, Gregor Wosik and the legendary Kurt Wenner. 

Inside the warehouse, each artist was given some blank real estate to operate, with corners offering the greatest opportunity to play with perspective. Nearly all of the pieces made use of the angles and structures within the space to create murals that appear to pop out at viewers when standing in the correct spot. The spots are marked throughout the museum with pairs of feet drawn on the floor, but gazing at the work from various angles helps viewers appreciate how the illusion of depth is constructed, with the arms and legs of drawn figures skewed out of proportion. “It’s about the experience,” says Kowal.

But no experience is complete nowadays unless it is photographed and posted to social media, and, like Wynwood Walls in Miami, this exhibition is Instagram-ready. “Actually, the illusion has more depth on a cell phone,” says Kowal, “because the human eye still perceives that something is off, a phone camera doesn’t.” Because of the scale of each piece, the museum will only allow a finite number of guests at a time to ensure that each viewer has the opportunity to enjoy an unobstructed view of each mural and so groups have an opportunity to pose “inside” the pieces. 

And, like the Chalk Festival, the installations for the museum are intended to be impermanent. The warehouse recently changed ownership, and while the new owners were happy to host the scheduled installation of 3D art, it will only do so through the end of May. That still leaves plenty of time for those interested to experience the work while also supporting Avenida de Colores, a nonprofit arts organization started by Kowal that provides youth art instruction and promotes cultural literacy.

Beer and wine will be offered on Friday and Saturday nights. The museum is open from 11-8, Thursday through Sunday. Tickets can be purchased online.

Photo taken by John Revisky.

Chalk Festival, 200 Base Ave. East, Venice, 941-488-8877.

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