A Fresh Twist on Mind-Bending Artworks

Everyday items that are solid or made out of canvas? Best look again.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Duncan Cheng (c) 2014 Museum Associates/LACMA
    Artist Kaz Oshiro works with students at Charles White Elementary School. The school, on offsite gallery for LACMA, is the scene for Mr. Oshiro's new exhibit "Kaz Oshiro: Chasing Ghosts."

    When the trompe l'oeil chapter is reached in any Art 101 textbook, a few things are likely to appear.

    One? The drawing of the cube that changes in height and depth, depending on where you look. Two? A door painted on a wall, one that looks quite real but cannot be opened. And three? The sky speckling a ceiling.

    But the technique -- it means "fool the eye," of course -- has a much broader reach beyond the traditional flat surface.

    Artist Kaz Oshiro pursues the idea of three-dimensional trompe l'oeil, and he does it via the everyday objects and items we all come across quite frequently. But rather than create them out of their typical material -- metal for a Dumpster or glass and plastic for a microwave -- the whimsical-hearted artist turns to canvas as a principal medium.

    His show "Chasing Ghosts" is on at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's off-site gallery at the Charles White Elementary School through June 7. Look for artworks from LACMA's permanent collection to appear at the gallery as well. They were chosen by Mr. Oshiro as a compare/contrast with the questions and ideas flowing through his own work.

    There are lots of intriguing ideas to ponder here, but we'll land on one: Do we take for granted that the stuff of our life only comes in particular shapes and textures and, if so, does this mean we are only numbly aware of our daily interactions with them? Hardly seeing them at all?

    Too deep? Here's something with levity: Mr. Oshiro also collaborated with the students of Charles White on a very colorful artwork that is accompanying the exhibit.

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