Erin O'Keefe's deceptively simple, mind-bending photographs

Erin O’Keefe is an artist based out of New York City making work that twists our brains in the best way possible. She’s an architect and photographer using both disciplines to make her uniquely painterly imagery. The abstract, formal language of making that she developed during her 23 years working in architecture is realised in her photographs, which raise the question of spaces and how we perceive them.

Erin’s work is like an optical illusion. Is it photoshopped? Is it a three-dimensional sculpture or a traditional painting? The answer is none of the above. Using a lights, her camera and humble materials, each of Erin’s constructions are 100% real life. No photoshopping, no post; it’s all in-camera. Using paper, plywood, plexiglass, foil and her own painterly strokes, she creates her tabletop constructions and photographs them. The results are an astounding exploration of materials, shadows, perspectival and shadows - an inquiry into the ways we see.

Playfully nicknamed ‘Bauhaus playhouse’ by The New Yorker, Erin garners inspiration from painters to create her photographs. From early Renaissance figurative painting to the likes of Josef Albers, Leger and Gris, we can see their influence through her painterly aesthetic. Using overlapping colours and layering with light to create dense, otherworldly environments - flattening the three dimensional down into two dimensional imagery.

See more of Erin O’Keefe’s work —

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