Tom Eckert, ‘Aberrant Ascension’, 2002, Museum of Arts and Design

Image rights: Photo by Maggie Nimkin

Gift of Marcia Docter, 2006

About Tom Eckert

“At first you’re drawn into a false sense of reality, and then you discover it’s not real at all,” Tom Eckert has said of sculptures, which are formed entirely of wood. Using traditional woodworking techniques such as carving, turning, bending, painting, and laminating, Eckert creates sculptures that employ trompe-l’oeil trickery to fool the eye—what appears to be cloth or a deck of cards is actually formed of solid, painted wood. In Aberrant Ascension (2002), Eckert carved a piece of linden wood into the likeness of a napkin that has been draped over a stack of restaurant china. The sculpture was then painted using Eckert’s own mixed pigments, which he uses to create infinite possibilities of color, at times incorporating a pearlescence into the paint, drawn from an ingredient made from shells that gives the illusion of luminous, reflected light.

American, b. 1942, Chicago, Illinois, based in Phoenix, Arizona