Using art to cause viewers to question reality

March 15, 2013

By MIKE CHAIKEN
EDITIONS EDITOR
Artist Astrid Toha is playing with reality. And she hopes her work coaxes the viewer into questioning what is and what is not real.
Astrid, along with artist Evan Mann, is the subject of a new show at the CCSU Gallery in New Britain, which continues through April 11. An opening reception was held on March 7.
For the exhibit at Central Connecticut State University, Astrid said she was showing two pieces. “I am showing projections on top of prints I embedded into the wall. The whole concept is to create an illusion as if there is depth behind the 2D wall.”
This type of work was the result of a combination of dogged pursuit and serendipity, explained Astrid.
Astrid said her background is in painting, where she pursued a photo-realist approaching where she created three-dimensional depth on a flat surface. “Through time, I became more interested with how it interacts with the viewer.”
Astrid, a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, then found a way to create this depth through a mix of photographs embedded on the wall and projections. “It is something I stumbled on.”
Astrid said her work explores, “the metaphysics of seeing. There’s something there that’s so material intangible– also that’s so unexplainable.
When people look at her work, Astrid said she wants them to think about reality vs. illusion. “I think when you’re talking about illusion it will automatically go to that question of reality, what is reality? Is everything we see is real or is it an illusion.”
Although the pieces on display at CCSU have been seen before, said Astrid, the nature of the pieces causes them to vary when the venue is switched.
“They do change as the space changes. Everywhere you go it will be slightly different,” said Astrid. “That’s part of what’s exciting about this type of work. The phenomenology of light, just the slightest change in the light bulb or the projector or the wall can play a big difference.”
“Light & Illusion” featuring Evan Mann and Astrid Toha continues at the CCSU Gallery through April 11. The gallery is located on the second floor of Maloney Hall in the Samuel S. T. Chen Fine Arts Center at Central Connecticut State University, 1615 Stanley St., New Britain.
The gallery is open Mondays to Fridays, 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, go to Art.CCSU.edu/ Gallery.html

Artist Astrid Toha tweaks her projections for her pieces now on display at the CCSU Galleries in New Britain. Her exhibit with Evan Mann is called ‘Light & Illusion.’

Artist Astrid Toha tweaks her projections for her pieces now on display at the CCSU Galleries in New Britain. Her exhibit with Evan Mann is called ‘Light & Illusion.’

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