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DEVORAH SPERBER

 

Devorah Sperber is an American installation artist known for creating works out of spools of thread, chenille pipe cleaners and map tacks that act as optical illusions. Some of her work involves using thousands of spools of thread to create pixilated versions of iconic works of art by famous artists. Her naming scheme for these works generally follows the format " After [Artist]/[Work]". For example, her creation of the Mona Lisa using spools of thread is titled After The Mona Lisa 8. The spools are hung in long, adjacent columns to create a pointillist, inverted abstraction of a famous painting. When viewed by the naked eye, they are barely recognizable. When viewed through an optical device, usually a "viewing sphere" (a transparent sphere the size of a baseball) placed several feet in front of the spools), the abstractions are inverted and shrunk into a remarkably detailed and faithful image of the original painting. The resulting image is usually distorted the way objects are distorted when viewed through a fisheye lens: objects in the center are larger than they appear, and objects in the periphery are smaller than they appear. The horizon of the image viewed through the viewing sphere also bend and curve, depending on the viewer's perspective. Sperber has wittily used the fish eye; in her rendering of the Mona Lisa, the Mona Lisa's "elusive smile appears, changes, and disappears in a dramatic and humorous fashion. She deconstructs familiar images, so that the brain can reconstruct them, addressing the way we think we see versus the way the brain actually processes visual information.
Born in 1961 in Detroit, MI Sperber moved to Denver, Colorado at the age of ten, where she later graduated from the Art Institute of Colorado in 1981 and Regis University in 1987. She moved to New York City in 1989, dividing her time between studios in Manhattan and Woodstock, New York, and is
currently based in California. She won the Fellowship in Sculpture from the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2005 and the Nacional de España’s contemporary print project in Madrid in 2006. She has widely exhibited in museums such as The Brooklyn Museum in 2007, MASS MoCA in 2008, Boise Art Museum and Knoxville Museum of Art in 2009 and participated to a group show at the American Museum of Natural History in 2010.