Drawing Upon His Past in Math and Comp-Sci, An Artist Constructs Whimsical Canvases That Defy This Dimension

Emily Nathan
Jan 29, 2015 10:44PM

Born in 1973 in Syracuse, New York, and based in Oregon, Trygve Faste creates optically baffling art objects that tread a fine line between two and three dimensions, incorporating principles from painting, design, and architecture. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art, Mathematics, and Computer Science, followed by a Master’s Degree in Painting—and that rigorous scientific foundation is mapped all over his aesthetic sensibility, manifesting as a logical framework that he applies to works both playful and practical.

In Faste’s own words, his production is inspired by a fascination with human-manufactured reality, both spatial and physical. The “invention of our surroundings,” he explains on his website, “has resulted in a complex environment of objects ranging widely in their purpose from pragmatically functional to completely whimsical.” His paintings, accordingly, embody this tension between apparent use-value and formal appeal, and they appear to hover between depth and flatness.

Created using a wide variety of processes and tools, including traditional painting techniques, airbrushing, laser cutters, and computer-aided design, Faste’s paintings are indeed meticulously engineered optical illusions. Generally executed in acrylic paint on canvases he has specifically shaped and stretched into sharply angled triangular arrangements, they seem to surge into a viewer’s physical space, emulating space ships, architectures, or the shattered fragments of some cosmic mirror—always disorienting, always eluding complete understanding. “My work engages conceptual issues of material creation through an abstract visual language of implied functionality,” he writes. “Consumer culture, of which both art and design are integral, necessitates innovation, creativity, style, seduction, and manipulation to propagate itself.”

Emily Nathan