Using spatial anomalies created with everyday objects, artist Paul Trapp activates the viewer’s perception and raises questions regarding how we experience the world. Visit his website to see more of his art.
Inspiration for making this body of work started with my observation of a tree. On a still fall day I saw a tree covered in red leaves. From where I stood, I could partially see through the leaves to the tree’s interior. What I saw made me stop. The interior of the tree appeared to be moving while the exterior remained stationary.
My memory told me that trees cannot do that. As I got closer, I saw a flock of birds inside the tree moving but making no sound. For a few moments, before I saw the birds, my sight defied my mental expectations and I became newly aware of the tree. My awareness was heightened by an abnormal experience.
What created this situation was the combination of a real familiar object – the tree, and an unfamiliar visual phenomenon – the strange internal movement. I was unable to comfortably categorize my experience because I had never previously encountered it.
Seeing the tree in this new way, I became aware of my consciousness trying to sort out what I was seeing. My perception was jarred out of passivity and was activated to resolve the problem.
I have based this series of works on this experience of seeing something recognizable and yet impossible at the same time.
My irregularly shaped paintings are of ordinary objects and places; however, my concern is for the extraordinary and different ways in which we experience objects in the world, as well as our experience of objects and space in paintings.
In my work I contrast familiar objects with spatial anomalies to raise questions concerning perception, memory, and imagination. These spatial anomalies are intended to activate a viewer’s perception, to create moments where the mind has to sort out what the eyes are seeing.
I believe when we see something inconsistent with reality, we cease to be passive observers and begin to be active interpreters of our surroundings. These moments allow us to break from our daily routine and experience this world in new ways.
Inconsistent moments help us remember that although objects and places may appear to be ordinary, they are not. Our experience of them can be unique, magical, and captivating.