Mirror Mirror… Who’s art is fairest of them all?

The public voted for a truly “Outside the Box” winner  as the overall  Best Interpretation of the Theme at this year’s Fall Art Show and Sale. Russell Work won for his creation “A-Round Oliver“.

Work chose to interpret this year’s theme, “Outside the Box”, more metaphorically.  The photographer is known, especially as a member of the RipOff Artists, for challenging our notion of what constitutes a photograph. How can we view  two-dimensional image in three dimensions? How does the surface change the way we see the image?

First Work digitally stretched a photograph of Oliver’s gate,  and created a circular, anamorphic image. This image formed the base of his artwork.  By viewing the photograph through a cylindrical mirror mounted in the middle of the anamorphic image, the perspective is restored and the viewer can recognize the original image. But which one is the “real image”? or is it both?  does it matter?

Yes, as a photographic image, Work’s idea is certainly Outside the Box! 

The history of anamorphic images and cylindrical (or convex) mirrors have been used by artists for centuries, most commonly with painted images.

“Anamorphoscopes” were  a children’s toy popular in the early 19th century.




Many classic paintings used convex mirrors to enhance the natural perspective. Here is Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror by Parmigianini.







And the famous Arnolfini Wedding by Jan van Eyck. Note how the convex mirror in the background captures the backs of the couple and a small self-portrait of van Eyck as he paints them (see enlargement below).

So artists, how might YOU use mirror in your artwork? Let a mirror inspire your next creation!

Photo Credit: Val Friesen (top photo)