Art gallery transforms into 3-D optical illusion

The art you’re looking for is the sofa you’re sitting on and the book you’re reading


Emily Otten

Alyssa Karger (’20) points out the fireplace in the new art gallery

Julianne Sun, Print Director

At first glance, the art gallery looks nothing like its name. Instead of the usual display of paintings and pottery, half of the art gallery is occupied by a living room. There’s a painting hanging over the couch – maybe that’s the art that’s supposed to be displayed?

“It’s really a three-dimensional line drawing,” art teacher Sarah Scott said. Everything in the art gallery is real furniture, bought by the three art teachers during a trip to Goodwill. She originally got the idea from a cafe in South Korea (Cafe Yeonnam-dong 239-20) that had drawn all of its furniture to look two-dimensional.

Jenna and Lilly Ridgeway (‘21 and ‘22 respectively) were among the students that worked the most on the display. “We both have Mrs. Capriolo for Art Metals and I finished my project early,” Ridgeway (‘21) said. “And so [Mrs. Capriolo] said, we need help painting things, and I was like, oh, well okay, what is it? and she showed me all these things, like chairs, and a table, and a couch, and floor, and walls, and like everything, and we just kinda started from there.”

Other than the well-furnished living room in the white half, there’s a standalone line-drawn object in the black half of the art gallery. A phone caddy. “So that was my idea,” Ridgeway (‘22) said. “I was like, we should put a phone caddy in there, as a mockery of it, ‘cause everyone’s so against it. I asked Mrs. Hahn [associate principal] and she was like, that is so funny, I will find you one. Five minutes later she came down to the art room with one. We painted it, put it up, and students would walk past it and laugh because it’s pretty funny.”

“Every room has one,” Ridgeway (‘21) said, “so the art gallery should too.” While students won’t have to put their phones in the caddy when they visit the art gallery, Scott does encourage them to interact with the display.

“It’s just fun to see people react by kind of walking into that space,” she said. “It kind of has a surreal feeling, walking into that line drawing that’s real furniture. It has that strange illusion when you walk into that kind of space.”The Ridgeway sisters still expected their art to be treated with respect, though.

“It took us so long, all the hard work that was put into it shouldn’t just be disregarded,” Ridgeway (‘22) said. While the three-dimensional line drawing is more or less finished, the art teachers and students working on the project hope to add more to it as the seasons turn. A Thanksgiving dinner might appear on the line-drawn table in a few weeks, and a white Christmas tree after that…