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These Uncommon Art Objects Will Make You Do a Double-Take

Carly Glovinski tricks viewers into seeing what’s already there.

Like a magician using misdirection to manipulate her audience’s attention, artist Carly Glovinski tricks her viewers into perceiving certain things. But, unlike a magician, Glovinski wants to help her viewers to really understand what it is they’re actually seeing. As Glovinski tells The Creators Project, “The term trompe l’oeil literally means ‘to fool the eye,’ but I like to think of it as meaning ‘pay attention, look closer, have awareness, alter your perception.’”

Glovinski’s drawings and sculptural objects look almost, but not quite, like commonplace objects, and that’s exactly what makes them stand out. When viewers notice that something is a little different about an object that initially seemed familiar, they have to give the objects a second look. “I want my work to inspire viewers to look closer at everyday life,” says Glovinski. “My work aims to bend perceptions of the things we recognize and experience as common and everyday, creating a deeper awareness of the experience of ‘seeing,’ and allowing for unexpected connections to be made between concept, materials, and the iconography of objects.”

What looks like a partially finished puzzle featuring an image of the Grand Canyon is actually acrylic paint and ink on laser cut plexiglass. Photo: Michael Winters

Although Glovinski’s background is in painting, she’s willing to delve into whatever medium she feels is best for a given work; matching her ideas to the materials that will best represent them. “I don’t want to be an expert in any one mode of craft, I want to go in just knowing the basics so that I can just dive in and try and fail and try and fail, until something sticks, without putting any major expectation on things. Taking an honest shot at something you don’t know but want to learn can have unexpected, powerful results sometimes.”

Acrylic paint on folded metal depict an unfolded map of “Plant Hardiness" in the United States.

Images of nature recur throughout Glovinski’s work, but always in the context of human-made objects. For instance, a work called Evolving Coast features a sculpture of a book, made from wood and acrylic paint, with a picturesque image of the seaside on its cover. The book is placed on the seat an aluminum folding chair, which Glovinski has reupholstered with woven strips of paper decorated with paint and correction fluid to make them look like the chair’s original woven strips. The title of the work, which comes directly from the cover of the book itself, seems to be a clear reference to the human influence on the natural world. Glovinski says that works like these are meant to ask the question, “How do the everyday objects in the domestic realm relate to a natural landscape?”

Evolving Coast features a book, made from wood and acrylic paint, placed on the seat of an aluminum folding chair, which Glovinski reupholstered with painted strips of paper. Photo: Michael Winters.

While Glovinski’s conscientious awareness of the world around her might carry a subtle message of environmentalism, for Glovinski, the pursuit of understanding is the most important aspect of her work. “I look, handle, inspect and recreate in an effort to understand. Deception is not the major goal. It’s understanding. That process is everything to me. The final piece is like an artifact of this investigation.” It’s this inexhaustible desire to probe and analyze the world around her that keeps Glovinski going. “I think keeping that sense of wonder and curiosity alive about the everyday stuff and sites of life are what drive me to make work,” says Glovinski.

A sculpture of a picnic blanket made from acrylic paint and correction fluid on wood. Photo: Michael Winters.

This untitled installation simply consists of ink applied to a wall in order to look like painter’s tape. Photo: Stewart Clements.

Should you find yourself in New England this fall, look out for Carly Glovinski’s work in the upcoming biennial exhibitions at deCorvia Sculpture Park and Museum and The Maine Center for Contemporary Art. You can see more work on the artist's website.

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