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Sculptor Expertly Fools the Eye with Surreal Ceramics That Look Like Wood

Sculptor Christopher David White is known for his ceramic creations that double as fantastic optical illusions. It’s hard to believe the hyperrealistic pieces are made of clay, as they resemble knotty wood and dilapidated cardboard. These visual effects demonstrate incredible artistic skill, and White utilizes multiple hand-construction methods—such as modeling, molding, and casting—in order to produce the incredible textures that make his sculptures so confounding.

Nature’s perpetual transformation is what first inspired White’s body of work—the idea that everything is subject to a cycle of growth and decay, or life and death. “Change is a constant reminder that permanence is the ultimate illusion,” he explains in his artist statement. He adds, “I seek to expose the beauty that often results from decay while, at the same time, making my viewer question their own perception of the world around them.” This forces us to look closely at White’s sculptures, and discovering his intricate details—of mold, moss, grains of weathered wood, and tiny water droplets—brings us a sense of joy as they’re revealed.

White has created nearly 14 new sculptures this year, and they’ll soon appear at Abmeyer + Wood Fine Art in a solo exhibition called Human : Nature. The show opens on September 1 and is up until October 1, 2016.

Christopher David White: Website | Facebook | Instagram

All images by Marta Finkelstein.

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Christopher David White.

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.

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