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Tactile illusions in Susan Metrican's paintings

Posted by Kevin Hartnett  February 12, 2014 11:19 AM

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The visual illusions in Susan Metrican's paintings don't hit you over the head, but once registered, they do call you back for a longer look. Metrican, who lives in Boston, currently has a show called "Susan Metrican: Wavy Panes" at the Sherman Gallery at Boston University. Her work quietly plays with ideas of depth and perception. The painting "Chorus" (the top image below) looks for all the world like a series of shapes cut finely into a thin sheet of paper. In fact, though, the surface of the work is flat, and the appearance of cutouts owes to the careful use of shadow and brushstrokes. Similarly, the one sphere and two hemispheres in "Cult of Horus" (the second image below) appear to be pockmarked with smooth, shallow holes, like hardened magma, maybe, or rocks nibbled at for eons by the briny sea. Really, though, the whole presentation is just acrylic paint, save the two tufts of horse hair hanging below, like a punch line.

"Susan Metrican: Wavy Panes" runs at the Sherman Gallery, George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Ave., second floor, through March 7.

Metrican 1.jpg

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Images courtesy of the Sherman Gallery at Boston University.

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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