Mahan Gallery is pleased to present Trick of Light, an exhibit featuring the works of Dana Carlson, Alexis Semtner and Kate Stewart. Throughout history the trompe-l'œil technique has been used to 'trick the eye' by using realistic imagery to create an optical illusion. There are many tricks that can be played on the eye without having the need of a cognitive reason why. In this exhibition, that concept is explored and celebrated. As a whole, the body of work is a collection of clever pieces meant to fool perception with unfamiliar and redefined forms and ideas.
Dana Carlson considers herself a mark maker. She finds beauty in contradiction and the unplanned, likes watching bad decisions become good decisions, and the process of one choice delivering the next choice. Her work embraces the materials she uses, which range from applique kittens, puffy paint and found objects. These materials combined with her inherent regard for abstract expressionism make Carlson’s paintings unique. Carlson received her BFA from the University of of Iowa and her MFA from Hunter College. She lives and works in New York.
Alexis Semtner’s work investigates the nature of perception. Her abstract paintings experiment with optical illusion so to distort the viewer’s spatial awareness. The choice of color and juxtaposed visual landscapes is an expression from images in her own mind, rather than from her observations. Her work is a materialized vision of what you may find after looking through a kaleidoscope. Semtner received her BFA from Kansas City Art Institute and her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Like Carlson, Semtner lives and works in New York.
Kate Stewart explores the concepts of escape and shelter within her paintings. Between made up worst case scenarios and unreal landscapes, Stewart is constantly hinting at a sentimental demise. Her work has a graphic quality while at the same time is clearly influenced by architecture. Each painting is filled with bold color and unusual sources of light. Stewart received her BA from Dickinson College and her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. She works and resides in Philadelphia.