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Spatial Concept

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Spatial Concept

17 x 16 3/4 in. (43.2 x 42.5 cm)

Roy Ahlgren
American (Erie, PA, 1927 - 2011)

Object Type: Print
Medium and Support: Serigraph
Credit Line: The Charles Rand Penney Collection of the Memorial Art Gallery
Accession Number: 1975.150
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Location: Not currently on view
Collection: The Charles Rand Penney Collection

Edition: 7/100


When you first approach this print by Roy Ahlgren, you might see a hallway covered in a brightly colored pattern. A closer look might reveal a more complex environment in which different flat surfaces meet in improbable ways. How does the artist use color and form to suggest this unreal space?

Here, Ahlgren demonstrates how the human visual system prefers to interpret a complex shape as a regular shape perceived from a different angle or position. Look at the lower left corner of this print. Do you see a flat image of ovals and diamonds? Or a three-dimensional space where different flat surfaces, each covered in a pattern of circles and squares, meet?

When you look at this image, you are most likely picking up on these spatial cues, and interpreting a complex three-dimensional space, rather than a flat image composed of different shapes.

[Label copy from Seeing in Color and Black and White, 2018]

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