Nathan Mabry

"Around Us and Rebus"

December 2010 through March 2011

Los Angeles-based artist and KCAI alumnus Nathan Mabry ('01 ceramics) created the eleventh Project Wall, entitled “Around Us and Rebus," based on a photograph of the Capitoline Wolf, a bronze sculpture depicting a she wolf with Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of ancient Rome. The artist describes the overall effect of the work as a rebus –– a visual puzzle for the viewer to solve.

The image as been overlaid with a stereoscopic 3-D effect, which creates a sense of movement in the otherwise static image. According to Mabry, “the anaglyph 3-D effect works when viewed with the correct red and blue lens glasses but is not necessary for the visual code it unlocks.”

“The Capitoline Wolf is turned sideways as if it is walking on a vertical plain –– ascending or descending. On top of the image is an optical illusion known as the Zollner illusion –– where the long lines are actually parallel but don’t appear that way. The immediate graphic impact of the black lines can be seen as a tribal pattern, tire tread, a fence or minimalist abstraction but also serves as another clue to the viewer that things aren’t exactly as they seem,” said Mabry.

The artist claims, “In this work, there are sets of rules or processes layered over an archetypal image representing the creation myth for Rome –– an ideological code that creates a mash up of past and present. The image is simultaneously atavistic and retro futuristic.”