At least since the Renaissance, when artists developed sophisticated perspectival and trompe l’oeil effects to produce convincing representations of the real world or of imaginary scenes, illusionism has been a large part of the story and substance of Western visual art. Later, abstract and conceptual art forms threw illusionistic painting and sculpture for a loop, but among certain art-makers, the urge to tease and delight the eye with two- and three-dimensional worlds has long endured. Their inventiveness, along with a certain kind of creative mischief, can produce works as entertaining and alluring as they are deceptively believable and enigmatic.
Alan Wolfson, Canal St. Cross-Section (detail), 2009-10. Plastic, brass, plywood, electrical components, and mixed media, 27 x 23.5 x 19 in.