Bisignano Art Gallery to Present “Illusion in Art”

Aug 16, 2019 | University Relations staff

DUBUQUE, Iowa – University of Dubuque’s Bisignano Art Gallery will highlight the issues of illusion, reality, and fake information in its first exhibit of the 2019-2020 academic year. “Illusion in Art” will be open August 19 through September 28 in the art gallery, Heritage Center, 2255 Bennett St.

The exhibit is free to the public.

“Illusion in Art” will feature 24 images that challenge the viewer’s sense of truth and veracity in art and life. These images are not what they seem, according to Alan Garfield, art gallery director.

“All art is an illusion. In fact, art is so illusionary that people often forget that what they’re looking at in a painting, for instance, is just paint. This exhibit reminds us that we suspend disbelief and get caught up in the illusion. Sometimes the illusion involves perspective with elements closer to us that seem larger than those further away. Yet on a flat canvas, everything is the same distance,” Garfield said.

The exhibit will bring the wondrous worlds of Dali, Magritte, Arcimboldo, and modern psychologists together. All the pictures have been chosen to cause dissonance. For instance, is that a side portrait of a man or a bunch of tulips, daisies, and other flowers in the Arcimboldo painting of Spring from 1563?

A reception for “Illusion in Art” will take place from 6:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, in the art gallery. The reception will be held in conjunction with the Dubuque Chorale Songfest, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. in John and Alice Butler Hall. Tickets for the concert are $15. For more information, please visit

“Illusion in Art” was organized by Garfield as well as UD students Noah Bullock and Callie Feuss. There are essays by Garfield and Martha Smith, an optometrist in Dubuque.

Bisignano Art Gallery hours are noon to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday during the academic year. The gallery is also open in conjunction with all major events in John and Alice Butler Hall. Accommodations can be made for weekend viewing by contacting Garfield at 563.589.3717.