The Genius of M. C. Escher: Another World

The interior of a cube-shaped building.  Opening in the five visible walls give views of three different landscapes.  Through the topmost pair, one looks down, almost vertically, onto the ground; the middle two are at eye-level and show the horizon, while through the bottom pair one looks straight up to the stars.  Each plane of the building, which invites nadir, horizon, and zenith, has a three-fold function.  For instance, the rear plane in the center serves as a wall in relation to the horizon, a floor in connection with the view through the top opening and a ceiling so far as the view up towards the starry sky is concerned.  

Another World, 1947, wood engraving, 31.5 x 26 cm

On View:  The Magical World of M. C. Escher | January 26 – March 25, 2018 | Museum of Art – DeLand Downtown | 100 N Woodland Blvd

To inquire about the comments above, please join us for our Opening Night Reception.  You will be able to visit with the private collectors from the exhibition as well as the CEO of the Museum.  More information on the Reception can be found by clicking here.


The Magical World of M. C. Escher

by Rick de Yampert

Maurits Cornelis Escher wanted to capture infinity and cast it onto

To that end, the Dutch graphic artist created lithographs, woodcuts
and mezzotints of interlocking reptiles, strange creatures and birds in
flight that metamorphosed in and out of each other. He depicted
twisted dragons, and ants crawling eternally on a Mobius strip. He
created “impossible constructions” that depicted buildings,
staircases and spheres that seem geometrically precise yet, upon
close inspection, are as surreal as anything by Dali, Bosch or Kafka.

“It can apparently happen that someone . . . can feel ripen in oneself
a conscious wish to use his imaginary images to approach infinity as
purely and as closely as possible,” Escher wrote in his essay
“Approaches to Infinity,” published not long before his death in 1972.

“The Magical World of M.C. Escher,” on exhibit Jan. 26 through March
25 at the Museum of Art – DeLand, includes more than 150 of the
artist’s works. The exhibition features not only the Dutchman’s self described
“more or less fantastic pictures” but also his realistic
graphic works inspired by trips into the Italian countryside when he
lived in Rome from 1923 to 1935.

Born in the Netherlands in 1898, Escher attended the Haarlem
School of Architecture and Decorative Arts from 1919 to 1922, where
he quickly abandoned his intention to pursue architecture in order to
study graphic arts under Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita.

The European art world was in upheaval – and in thrall – to such
radical movements as Cubism with its blatant use of angles and
perspective-bending, multiple viewpoints; Dada and its free-for-all
hijinks; Surrealism with its embrace of the irrational; and De Stijl
(right in Escher’s homeland) with its almost pure use of geometric

Yet there is no record that the young Escher noticed or had any
significant exposure to these artistic explosions. Instead, the course
of Escher’s artistic path was forever altered when he visited Granada
in Spain in 1922, where he was astonished by the intricate
architecture of the 14th-century Moorish palace, Alhambra.

“Escher always wanted to be a graphic artist – he never wanted to be
a painter,” says George Bolge, chief executive officer of the Museum
of Art – DeLand. “He was always fascinated with the line and how
that can describe an object, whereas painters in a sense form the
line between volumes of color.”

Indeed, in his essay “Approaches to Infinity,” Escher writes: “No one
can draw a line that is not a boundary line. Every line splits a
singularity into a plurality. Every closed contour, no matter what its
shape, whether a perfect circle or an irregular random form, evokes
in addition the notions of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ and the suggestion of
‘near’ and ‘far away,’ of ‘object’ and ‘background.’ ”

And Escher was fascinated by another sort of line, Bolge notes:
“Escher had an analytical mind, and he was concerned with the line
between the metaphysical and reality.”

That’s evident in “Magic Mirror,” a 1946 lithograph in which a gaggle
of winged dragons circle into and out of a mirror – and thus
(seemingly) into two- dimensional reality and back out into three-dimensional

“Waterfall,” a 1961 lithograph, depicts a canal that weaves through
an Alhambra-like structure – but the work tricks the viewer’s eye into
sensing that the canal’s waters flow upward and back down,
perpetually and into infinity.

While Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2” and
other Cubist paintings astonished viewers with their depiction of
multiple viewpoints within one work, they have nothing on such
Escher works as “Up and Down” (lithograph, 1947) and “Relativity”
(lithograph, 1953).

Escher’s prints “bear witness to his amazement and wonder at the
laws of nature which operate in the world around us,” Bolge writes in
the exhibition’s sizable catalogue. “By keenly considering and
analyzing the observations that he made, Escher ended up in the
domain of mathematics even though he had absolutely no training or
knowledge in this exact science.

“Escher’s technical mastery is unthinkable, making his most
imaginative subjects convincing – sometimes frighteningly so. That
his imagination is, to say the least, eccentric, cannot be denied. His
work is at once surrealistic, representational and macabre. Escher is
mathematician, photographer, architect, and visionary. He is all these
things, and more: an artist.”


The Genius of M. C. Escher

A reflecting globe rests in the artist’s hand.  In the mirror he can have a much more complete view of his surroundings than by direct observation, for nearly the whole of the area around him – four walls, the floor and the ceiling of the room – are comprised, albeit distorted, within the little disc.  His head, or to be more precise the point between his eyes, comes in the absolute center.  Whichever way he turns he remains at the center.  The ego is the unshakeable core of his world.

Escher made three more spherical self-portraits during his life which examine the distortion of images reflected on a curved surface.

Hand with Reflecting Sphere, 1935, Lithograph, 12 1/2″ x 8 3/8″


The Magical World of M. C. Escher

January 26 – March 25, 2018





Thank You To Our Donors

We thank the following donors and businesses who merit special appreciation for their support of this presentation and their commitment to this year’s exhibition schedule: Dennis Aylward, Dr. Bruce Bigman and Carolyn Bigman, Samuel and Donna Blatt, Thomas and Loretta Chudy, Earl and Patti Colvard, Betty Drees Johnson, Sal Cristofano and Laura Gosper, Manny De La Vega, Dr. Wayne Dickson and Jewel Dickson, Robert Dorian and Linda Colvard Dorian, Lee and Susan Downer, Tom and Becky Fleishel, Dr. Susan Griffis, John and Karen Horn, Ed Jackson and Pat Heller-Jackson, Ray and Betty Johnson, Ed and Pauline Lacey, Tim and Mary Jeanne Ludwig, Robin May, Greg and Beth Milliken, Linda Pinto, Dagny and Tommy Robertson, Stephen and Claudia Roth, Patricia Schwarze, Judith Thompson, Paul and Becky Vasquez, Dr. Ian Williams and Dr. Nancy Hutson, Dr. John Wilton and Nancy Wilton, Boulevard Tire Center, Dorothy M. Gillespie Foundation, DeLand Breakfast Rotary, DeLand Fall Festival of the Arts, DeLand Rotary Club, Inc., E. O. Painter Printing Company, Faith Hope & Charity, Krewe of Amalee, Krewe Nouveau, Lacey Family Charitable Trust, Lane Insurance, Inc., Lorna Jean Brooks Foundation, Inc., Mainstreet Community Bank, Massey Services, Inc., Museum Guild, Publix Supermarket Charities, Wells Fargo Foundation, West Volusia Beacon, W. W. Gay Mechanical Contractor, Inc., State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, the City of DeLand and the County of Volusia.



Dan Biferie: The Art of Learning

Through its tonal shapes, the photographs of Dan Biferie represent objects and qualities which are perceived and experienced. Beyond that, they are an expression of dynamic processes. More than a representation of things which can be directly sensed and known, they are symbols which have the power to evoke a sense of the invisible and unknowable, of the forces and causes of which the objects and qualities are a manifestation. Not all photographs operate on this level, but the best do. The more strongly the forces which underlie and affect life are felt and evoked, the deeper and more sensitive knowledge and understanding of new dimensions on reality become.

The capacity to create a feeling of the invisible through the visible lies entirely within the photographer. It is he who brings the photograph to life, who gives it meaning and value according to his experiences and beliefs. If he is aware of and relates to the forces which generate life, then he has the potential to create orders within his photographs which express those forces.

The possibility is there because photography, as is true for all art forms, is a means of “learning”. Give a receptive mind, photography can be a continual interaction between the development of the photographer and the things photographed. As he explores the world within and around himself, he creates pictures which reflect and communicate the process. As manifestations of his experience, the photographs are not only expressions of what is, but also of what can be. They are catalysts and tools for discovery as well as symbols of ideas and beliefs which already have been developed. Through his pictures, Biferie not only says this is what happened, this is real, this is what I feel and think; he also asks – what does this mean, why do I experience it this way, where do I go from here? In asking such questions, he is prompted to go out and test his ideas and beliefs, to open his mind to further experiences, to probe and search for that which is beyond what he knows and understands.

Dan Biferie attempts to convey through his photographs an awakening of our conscience by arousing, even disturbing, our aesthetic sensibilities. A photograph has value as a document if it tells us something of the place or person or event that is pictured. Its importance and significance are further enhanced if it reveals something about what is pictured, and something more about the photographer. At times it is not particularly popular to speak of the values, but the best photographs always have value we can admire from which we can learn something indescribable that may shape our lives. There is always something to be learned about care and compassion from Biferie’s photographs.

George Bolge
Museum of Art – DeLand


Patrick Boyd: Man with a Holo Camera

If you’re under thirty, you have probably not had many chances to see holography, a vibrant visual phenomenon that combines sciences, art, and technology, to create interactive, 3D images. If you’re over forty, you have most likely forgotten all about it.

International award-winning photographer, Patrick Boyd, falls into the latter age category but holography has never been far from his mind. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, when it was hailed as the “medium of the future”, he produced some of the most memorable, inspiring holograms of the time, winning coveted places in global exhibitions. A graduate of the Royal College of Art Holography Unit, Patrick’s innovative approach lead him to work with iconic designer Zandra Rhodes and won him a scholarship to take up residency at the New York Museum of Holography. Further residencies in Japan and Germany followed as his reputation grew.

When public interest in holography waned with the dawning of the digital age, Patrick moved on to new pastures, but in recent years the virus that lurks in all holographers became active once more, and he started making holograms again, in various facilities in the USA and how in his new home studio in Wales. Technology has moved on and today he can record video sequences on an iPhone which can be transferred into holographic stereograms (pictures a flick book in 3D or a 3D movie which you can play back and forth simply by moving your head.)

In this exhibition, he presents a series of holograms and holographic stereograms based around cinematography. These stereograms are small movies with no cast, set or script. Like adherents to the Russian kino-eye theory, Patrick thinks of the camera as an instrument, much like the human eye, that is best used to explore real life. The moments of time he snatches are then preserved like ghostly animated memories in 3D.

This exhibition of the British artist Patrick Boyd was organized by The Butler Institute of American Art. Boyd works at the intersection of photography, holography, art, and science. Combining all with the installation and a unique graphic language. His imagery is both compelling and emotive. His works of meticulously created installations and captured sequences blur the boundaries between two- and three-dimensions. His works present a colorful world where real life, narrative, light, and shadow connect and collide.

George Bolge
Museum of Art – DeLand


Permanent Collection: Photographs

The concept of this exhibition is to show something of the character and intent of the Museum’s Photography Collection and to suggest some of the ways in which the study of photography influences the broader issue of modern art and modern sensibility.

The first and distinguishing function of an art museum is that of collecting and preserving works that are, in its judgment, particularly fine, or particularly instructive in reference to the evolution of art. If preserved, these works can be exhibited, reproduced, studied, interpreted, re-evaluated, enjoyed, and – perhaps most importantly – borrowed from by younger artists.

Therefore, it is with the premise that photography is an art and that photographers are artists – celebrating the vision of the men and women behind the camera – that this exhibition has been organized.

Photography was invented by the 19th-century artists for their own purposes. These men were seeking a lasting, literal record of their visual surroundings, and they found it. The new combination of illumination, lens, shutter, and flat surface coated with chemicals sensitive to light produced, within a short interval of time, images more lasting, more convincing in their reality, and more richly detailed than painters could produce manually in weeks and months of effort. This alone was enough to engender consternation within the ranks of fellow artists; and, after their first reaction of pleasure in a new king of image, art critics rallied with the haughty charge that photography was not and could not be an art. The actual world in which we live had too strong a grip on photography, they said, and pictures so dependent upon mechanical means could not be called acts of man’s creative imagination.

Despite the critics, photographers knew that they had found a new art form, a new mode of expression. As artists, they had extraordinary visual sensitivity, and they thought and expressed themselves naturally through visual images. As artists, they used the new tools as other artists before and after them have used brush and pencil – to interpret the world, to present a vision of nature and its structure as well as the things and the people in it.

The most important use of photography was in communication. Here the value of photography was seen as its quality of immediacy, of literal description and convincing presentation of reality. This equality was retained to a large extent even after pictures had been translated into forms that made them available as printing plates for the illustration of books. Almost anything that could be photographed could be printed; and books on travel, medicine, science, and art were published with a wealth and authenticity of visual information never b3fore possible. By now, photography has become as important as the word – perhaps more important as all linguistic barriers fell before this “picture talk”.

We use photographs as memories, memories of ourselves when we were younger, of places where we have lived or visited, of friends and relatives who are no longer with us. With the advent of the roll-film Kodak, manageable even by a young child, photography became a folk art – the most democratic art in history. The millions practice it, as well as the few who make of it a medium of high art and a tool of science and industry.

It can be said with certainty only that photography has remained for a century and a quarter one of the most radical, instructive, disruptive, influential, problematic, and astonishing phenomena of the modern epoch. The future of this beautiful, universally practiced, little-known art will be determined by young and unborn photographers who will decide how best to build on their rich and ambiguous tradition. A small part of that tradition is installed in this show.

George Bolge
CEO, Museum of Art – DeLand


Permanent Collection: Paintings, Drawings, Graphics, & Sculpture

An essential part of any museum’s mission is to expand its permanent collection with quality examples of local, national, and international art that enhances its chosen narrative. Gifts and bequests of artwork to the museum bring greater depth and significance to its collection which, in turn, provides the visual curricula for its educational programming. These gifts to the museum are “investments” in the community that benefit thousands of visitors for generations to come. Some of the more recent donations – paintings, prints, photographs, and sculpture – are displayed here and at the downtown gallery.

When all is said and done, this institution owes the private collectors in its community an enormous debt. Without them, many of the works of art you see here would have been lost or destroyed. Our Permanent Collection is, to a far larger extent than anyone realizes, private collections which have been accumulated and donated by civic-minded individuals. It is not town councils or chamber of commerce, or any other emanations of the popular will, which have sacred works of art for the general publics edification, but a number of exceptional collectors who have had one principle worth all the rest, the principle of delight. Each purchase is the record of a vivid experience, either a long pursuit or a struggle in which mounting desire has conquered prudence and economy. It has been brought home in triumph, unpacked with trembling hands, and placed, after many experiments, in the right company and the right light. It is true that after a few months have gone by the collector will forget all about it for days on end. But each time a sympathetic visitor looks at one of his precious “pets”, something of his first rapture returns; it becomes once more a friend, toy, fetish and familiar and there is re-established that complex human relationship which gives the private collection its life.

What you will see in this exhibition is the culmination and product of the response of a civilized and imaginative community of collectors to the impulse, the creativity, and, in some cases, the desperation of the artist to make the world, its beauty and meaning, come true. Above all else these generous patrons cared for quality and beauty, however, expressed. They believed that only “the book of art” (Ruskin’s phrase) tells the ultimate truth about place or an age. Consequently, in their judgment, all society’s “high falutin” declarations and aspirations will turn to dust, but its art will remain to declare, unarguably, where its heart lay. Their continuous search for significant art together with their largess toward this museum produced this collection and made it unique.

These pieces selected from this Permanent Collection provide vision and, as Edward L. Kamarch puts it, as “vision”, they have their greatest social utility. They speak eloquently for man by devoting his larger possibilities, extending the horizons of his consciousness and understanding, and challenging the system of doctrine and dogma which narrow and constrict human aspirations. As the Museum of Art – DeLand matures as an institution, it will nurture this community by expanding its education commitments, not beyond its capabilities, but to a point where the general public can make the most of its resources.

George Bolge
CEO, Museum of Art – DeLand


Theo Wujcik: Quiet Revolution

In this survey of the Art of Theo Wujcik, one can sense the artist’s shift in sensibility. The analytical and the formal are rejected and strange new kinds of historicism, primitivism, and expressionism are embraced. There is a demi-allegory here that seemingly has not made up its mind whether to persuade, as in an argument or to disassemble, like art; whether to consort with pain and despair or to yield to an irrepressible desire to affirm humane values in man’s all-too-brief existence on earth. With a seeming will of its own, the painting in this exhibit cheerfully subverts its illusion to come down on the artist’s side as an unexpected, purely creative affirmation, perhaps attaining, thereby, an even more persuasive impact than by restating the familiar miseries and visual clichés of man’s solitary fate.

In Theo Wujcik’s poetic creation, it is not a question of overcoming the material, as the futile aesthetics extolled by so many people would have it, but of freeing the material. Paint and other materials undergo a transformation as soon as they enter into the sphere of the of the work of art. They changer their nature; they embody something that transcends and governs them. Without losing their first values, they acquire, thanks to pictorial art, a great importance and, at the same time, constitute a sort of flash that opens access to another world to us.

When an artist invents a manner or a style, he ceases to be a creative artist and turns into a designer fabricating products of applied art. Style is an external decorative element. Sometimes the artist is governed or defeated by a style that does not belong uniquely to him but belongs to the period. In a sense, Theo Wujcik has no style; he is the servant of his material and transcends it with absolute freedom.

Wujcik’s last work is a provocation thoroughly in the modern tradition. As Marshall Berman observed, “to appropriate the modernities of yesterday can be at once a critique of the modernities of today and ran act of faith in the modernities . . . of tomorrow.” (Marshall Berman, All That is Solid Melts Into Air: The Experience of Modernity, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1982, p. 36.) The themes pursued in this artist’s work, however, are not as simple as that. Wujcik seems to be paraphrasing the statement that the Conceptualist, Douglas Huebler, made about a work of art in 1969: “The world is full of objects, more or less interesting. I do not wish to add any more. I prefer simply to state the existence of things . . .” This artist appears to be expressing a similar feeling – not toward objects, but toward images.

In the late stage of a culture which is cast adrift in contradiction, haunted by myths of history and style and by omens of vulnerability, Theo Wujcik is uneasily grabbing hold of traditions, however spurious they may be, and elevating them to stave off disbelief. He draws upon the elementary symbolism that has accompanied human history. For him, the work of art is not so much an ideal product as an activity through which the individual asserts his sense of life.His art can be compared to a process, a living tracing of the ceaseless activity of the imagination. We can think about his art in its various manifestations in terms of a new Zeitgeist, a sudden break with the past, an unexpected reversal of taste, or we can call it a last waltz with modernism.

George Bolge
Museum of Art – DeLand


Utility Box Art Project: Art in Public Spaces

The Museum of Art – DeLand is proud to announce the completion of the Utility Box Art program with the City of DeLand as part of the Downtown Community Redevelopment Area plan.  After many months, even years of planning, the Museum and its Public Art Committee issued the call to artists, arranged for a jury selection of artwork to be displayed, handled the logistics of the vinyl reproduction of the art, and the wrap installation onto the utility boxes.  Artists chosen for the project include Bobbi Baugh, Regina Dunn, Ray Johnson, Harry Messersmith and John Wilton.

This latest public art collaboration with the City of DeLand is in addition to the DeLand Sculpture Walk, a collaborative effort offering established and emerging artists the opportunity to display their work throughout downtown DeLand.  The sculptures change annually, contributing to the quality of life for DeLand residents as well as to educational and cultural tourism.  This year’s Sculpture Walk includes internationally renowned artist Jorge Jimenez Deredia.  Two pieces shipped from Italy arrived in January having most recently been exhibited in the Giardino di Boboli, Florence Italy, City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia Spain and many more locations throughout the world.

The Museum of Art – DeLand also partners with the County of Volusia in displaying the Legendary Florida Collection of paintings by Jackson Walker which hang in the rotunda of the Historic Volusia County Courthouse.  The narrative paintings from the Museum’s permanent collection depict significant events and personalities from more than 400 years of Florida history.


Museum of Art - DeLand
600 N. Woodland Blvd.

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100 N. Woodland Blvd.

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