MC Escher: The Mathemagician

The thing about M.C. Escher’s art is almost everyone has probably seen it but couldn’t put a name to the work. He was a Dutch artist with a peculiar imagination who paved the way for modern graphic art.

He used optical illusions and detailed precision to create impossible situations, so perfectly crafted and seamlessly merged that it takes a minute to realize these scenes can’t actually exist.

The exhibit has drawn people from all age groups and different areas of the country.

Exhibit attendee, Andy Sherman, a student from Concordia’s computational arts program says it’s Escher’s illusions that sparked his interest.

“I really like the way like he mixes the realism with the complete impossibility like the architecture,” says Sherman. “Everything in terms of perspective architecturally looks sound but warped and it’s not possible so you can’t actually build it, but it looks like it could be real.”

One of his most famous works, Relativity, is undeniably recognizable. It shows a building with multiple staircases coming from all directions, completely defying gravity and structural possibility.

His piece Drawing Hands is another well known one showing two frighteningly realistic hands rising out of the paper, each drawing the other. So which one came first?

These mindboggling works lead the way to much of Escher’s less famous but none the less impressive works.

Heather Martelock, a painter and illustrator, says as an artist the image you have in your head is never exactly translates to the canvas.

“I’d love to get into his head to understand how he can see this way because I see a certain way with my work ,” says Martelock. “How he can come out with something that works so well, yet at the same time it doesn’t work at all.”

MC Escher: The Mathemagician is currently on at the National Gallery of Canada until May 3.

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