Surreal Ceramics That Look Like Wood

Sculptor Christopher David White is known for his ceramic creations that double as fantastic optical illusions. It’s hard to believe the hyper realistic pieces are made of clay, as they resemble knotty wood and dilapidated cardboard. These visual effects demonstrate incredible artistic skill, and White utilizes multiple hand-construction methods—such as modeling, molding, and casting – in order to produce the incredible textures that make his sculptures so confounding. Nature’s perpetual transformation is what first inspired White’s body of work – the idea that everything is subject to a cycle of growth and decay, or life and death. “Change is a constant reminder that permanence is the ultimate illusion,” he explains in his artist statement. He adds, “I seek to expose the beauty that often results from decay while, at the same time, making my viewer question their own perception of the world around them.” This forces us to look closely at White’s sculptures, and discovering his intricate details – of mold, moss, grains of weathered wood, and tiny water droplets – brings us a sense of joy as they’re revealed.

Figurative Wooden Sculptures by Stefanie Rocknak

It may be hard to believe, but these stunning sculptures were carved from a single piece of wood. Artist Stefanie Rocknak is behind these fascinating figurative works. These pieces are slightly larger than lifesize, torsos and heads twisted into intense expressions that can be seen in both the face and body. Each work is incredibly serious, the pupil-less eyes seeming to look right through the viewer. The New York-based artist’s sculptural practice is highly influenced by her many trips to Europe, especially by Michelangelo, Donatello, and Bernini who she experienced in Rome. Although trained as a painter, she fell in love with the warmth and unpredictability of wood, preferring three dimensional work over two. Rocknak likes to stick to the detail of the work’s physical creation explaining that “conceptual art leaves me cold. So my figures, quite intentionally, are immediate and obvious; ideally, they do not need a theory to do their talking.”