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Bookstore Illusion

1982/6/25, erasable crayon, 14x17", by Chris Wayan.

I was in the Stanford Bookstore and saw this across the room--the face that was also a body, the nose that was a butt, the ear-foetus, the leg-lips, the girder-birds in the sea, all of it. When I walked over, it dissolved into an ordinary book cover with those general shapes and colors but none of these things. I was like Percival Lowell seeing canals on Mars...

A face, profile, is also a thin seated woman: her back's the forehead, her arm's the eyebrow, her butt's the nose, her crossed feet the lips. The face's ear is an embryo. Click to enlarge.
While going through old art to build this website I discovered a similar image in a second painting from the same decade, Bloody Styx!. Here new life burst out of dead girders in the water; in Styx, living branches grow from the water--and bleed.

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