Eric Sealine: Sleight of Hand
As a child, Eric Sealine’s interest in making precise things began with “the usual model airplanes and boats, all of which eventually crashed, sank, or met with ‘accidents,’” as he recalls. In 1976 Sealine built radio-controlled sailing boat models from scratch; then he designed and built two real sailboats, in 1978 and 1986. He says, “After making three-dimensional objects with the curvy complexity of a boat, forced perspective wasn’t all that difficult.”
Most of Sealine’s exhibited works are examples of “forced perspective” which is a manipulated optical illusion well known to photographers, architects, and movie directors as a way to make objects appear to be closer, farther away, smaller, or larger than they actually are. In addition to this technique, Sealine explains what interests him about his latest inspiration: 19th century magicians’ tricks:
They dealt in questions of belief as much as with sleight of hand. Where it all gets interesting isn’t when the ghost appears or the elephant vanishes…[but] when the audience can prove to its satisfaction that what they’ve just seen is impossible, that what they “believe” and what they “can prove to be true” are at odds.
—Susan Calabria, Curator