Optical Illusions, Paintings and Drawings
By Jack Osbun
I wasn’t born to be an artist. Although my father once told me that before I was born, he had had a dream of a hallway lined with little hands, and that ought to signify something. But I, to be best of my knowledge, never had a compulsion to make marks, never took a crayon in my hand and drew on a wall. That would have brought retribution, which I would most surely have remembered. I never even liked to draw.
Paintings and drawings
By Jack Osbun
Fri, Aug 29, 3:30-8:30pm
San Francisco 33
15 percent of the sales will go to La Biblioteca
As a matter of fact, the first visual awareness that I can remember was a fascination with optical illusions, those forms and diagrams which appear to be one thing, but then by some magical twist of perception prove to be something entirely different.
The illustration which most impressed me at the time, and I would guess myself to have been about 10 years old, was the classic one of two human profiles facing each other leaving a space between which exactly formed the shape of a Grecian urn. The combined image shifted alive, almost like the image was breathing.
I later learned that this was a phenomenon referred to as the ambiguity of figure-ground. Anyway, my visual life began more in the area of perception rather than kinesthesis or motion … more eye or mind movement than hand movement. It didn’t start out that way, but by the time that I reached the university, I had, much to my parents’ consternation, determined to concentrate in fine art. The curriculum required that, along with art courses, I touch on other areas such as psychology, where I encountered my old friends the optical illusions. It seems that these had been generated by the studies of visual perception by a group known as Gestalt psychologists.
Having always been rather challenged by verbal grammar, I was immediately struck by the fact that these worthy gentlemen were presenting me with a grammar of the visual language, a grammar I comprehended immediately, and which I have been using ever since to structure my images.
Graduating from Ohio State University in the fall of 1959, I won a scholarship to study at the Instituto Allende, where I worked with James Pinto and Fred Samuelson. I rapidly fell in love with Mexico, San Miguel de Allende, and the young lady to whom I have been married for the past 52 years.
Since that time I have been struggling to raise a family of three lovely daughters, to educate 30 years of college students, largely at Wittenberg University, in Springfield, Ohio, and to keep alive the creative flame. I now hold the rank of Professor Emeritus at Wittenberg and for the last 14 years have been pursuing a full-time schedule in the studio.
I am now presenting my third exhibition of 2014. The first two were in Ohio. This one opens on Friday, August 29, at Actinver Bank, San Francisco 33, from 6:30 to 8:30pm. The work will be on view through the month of September. The show is sponsored by La Biblioteca, which will receive 15 percent of all sales. Come see what the struggle is all about.