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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Book Review; Masters of Deception

Written and compiled by noted authority Al Seckel, Masters of Deception; Escher, Dali & the Artists of Optical Illusion is is a really cool book. Coming in at 320 pages, this hefty coffee table book is packed with incredible illusions, perverted perspectives and striking surrealism. I've long enjoyed such artwork (which is beyond my ability to produce,) and have seen many examples before, so I think it's hard to "get" me. Considering this, I was particularly pleased that I had to look at some of the images more than once, or from a distance or different angle, to see what I was missing.
Works include anamorphoses, metamorphic art, ambigrams, inversions, op art, trompe l'oeil murals and more. Media includes everything from traditional paint to thread to chocolate syrup. 20 artists are featured, one per chapter, ranging from the 16th century to the modern day. Regrettably, none are women. The book also refers to a defunct website for further investigation of the illusions. There's a replacement website available, but it doesn't seem to have everything alluded to in the book. Regardless, I'm sure that some clever web searching could turn up the missing information, or something comparable.
All things considered, those drawbacks are small. Printed on high-quality paper, the images, artists and information in "Masters of Deception" won't fail to delight, intrigue and surprise. If you can't buy it outright, check your local library (that's where I found mine.) Enjoy!

(Vertigo update; The dimenhydrinate tends to knock me out cold, so I switched to the less-drowsy [& unfortunately less effective,] meclizine. I'm having more vertigo spells than before, but they're less intense.)


G said...

Sounds like a fascinating book to read.

Re vertigo: Have you been able to narrow down what's been causing it?

Charles Gramlich said...

I loved it. I always enjoyed my classes in perception for this kind of stuff.

YogaforCynics said...

When I first saw the title of this post, I thought "what? Why the hell is Lana reviewing that paranoid excuse for witch-hunts J. Edgar Hoover wrote in the 50's?!" That book, as it turns out, is actually called "Masters of Deceit." Masters of Deception, on the other hand, sounds really cool...

Cloudia said...


now i know what it's called!

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

celticmusicfan said...

...this book sounds interesting...the title reminds me of Henry Houdini

Travis Cody said...

I like these kinds of pictures, as long as they don't make me too dizzy.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I immediately thought of Escher's artwork, but for some reason I kept wanting to put an "L" in his name. Had to use google to get it right. I've always liked examining the mathematical precision of his images. The last coffee style artbook I bought was on Picasso. Not the same though - cubism - I think.

Harold Stiver said...

That sounds very interesting. I'll have to have a look for it. Thanks!!

troutbirder said...

Hmmm. Maybe this is why I avoid climbing ladders in recent years. Hang in there Lana!

Kelly said...

That book sounds like something I'll have to look into... definitely. I love optical illusions and have posted several on my blog. Since these were created by the "best of the best" I am further intrigued. I clicked on your Amazon link for details a second ago. Glad you brought this to everyone's attentions.

Erik Donald France said...

That is really cool, indeed. Nifty review -- I dig the terminology, as well. Fascinating.

On a sort of related Dutch angle, have you seen or will you see Inception?

Lana Gramlich said...

G; It's a really cool book. As for the vertigo, doctors have always said it's related to a virus, but if that were the case, it would be over now, not much worse. I suspect it's related to one of my previous head injuries (which can cause lesions in the labyrinth, etc.)

Charles; Yes! SO interesting!

Dr. Jay; Oh yes, it's MUCH better than "Masters of Deceit," I promise!

Cloudia; Anytime. :)

celticmusicfan; It's definitely worth a look.

Travis C.; I had to skim over some of the ones in the op art section, but they're still cool, if you can handle them!

JR; Escher's always amazed me. I always admired his works, but only learned his name in the last few years. I'm glad to have passed on that appreciation to a jr. high school aged girl who used to come to my library. She'd never imagined that such cool, strange stuff existed!

Harold; Absolutely. I'm glad to have found the book & shared it here on my little blog. :)

troutbirder; I haven't really been secure on a ladder in years, myself. Maybe someday that'll change.

Kelly; Although the book was compiled by a specialist in the field of visual illusions, he states in the book that the artists included are by no means the "be all & end all" of the field. There are many more (which I'm sure a Google search would reveal.)

Erik; Yes...I'm definitely interested in "Inception," even if only from a dreamer's standpoint. I'll probably be waiting for it to come out on video or satellite, though. Theaters are too expensive & crowded these days.

AvDeeBee said...

I love books like these. Anything to trick the brain...

Sorry to hear about the vertigo. I had a brief brush with it and decided it was not fun at all. Hope you get your head on straight, soon. ; )

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