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IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER A Look at the Works in Doppler Shift by Mary Birmingham Doppler Shift presents two- and three-dimensional works of art that explore perceptions of color and space. This exhibition also examines the relationship between the viewer and the work of art by investigating how shifting perspectives alter the visual experience. As various factors change—the viewing distance, angle of vision, lighting conditions, duration of looking—forms and objects seem to shift between two and three dimensions, creating spatial ambiguities and visual disorientation. Further, the interaction of color and line may prompt optical sensations in the viewer, as stationary lines and forms appear to move. The exhibition appropriates a scientific term as its title: The Doppler effect, also called the Doppler shift, is the apparent change in the frequency of emitted waves relative to an observer. It is named for the Austrian physicist Christian Doppler, who first identified it in 1842. Doppler observed that if the source of a sound (such as a train whistle) is moving toward or away from an observer, the perceived pitch of the sound changes. Although the whistle blasts at a constant frequency, the train’s speed causes the sound waves to hit the observer’s ears faster or at a higher frequency than the whistle is producing them. The resulting pitch will be higher as the train approaches the observer, and lower as it recedes. In a way, the Doppler effect describes a situation in which the observer hears something that’s not really there, as the sound heard is different in pitch from what is emitted. Similarly, the viewer’s visual perception of objects in Doppler Shift may differ from their reality, prompting unexpected results.

Although the twenty-seven international artists in Doppler Shift do not belong to any formal movement, they share an interest in reductive palettes, straightforward materials, geometric forms and patterns, and repetition and seriality. More than a third of the works in the exhibition are three-dimensional walloriented pieces, which often look deceptively flat. As viewers move and observe these works from different viewpoints, their volumetric depths become more apparent. opposite: Albert Roskam, 4 vanishing points in a square #3, 2014

Doppler Shift  
Doppler Shift  

Twenty seven artists from the US and Europe use geometry and color to explore the illusion of difference between two- and three-dimensional...