Trompe l’oeil (French for “deceive the eye”) — a style of painting in which the goal is to create an illusion of the presence of three dimensional objects — has a long history in European painting. While it’s tempting to dismiss it as mere amusement, I think it goes to the nature of illusion inherent in representational painting — something the masters explored long before the 20th century modernists made it central to their questioning of the nature of visual art.
Kazuo Torigoe is a contemporary Japanese painter who focuses on trompe l’oeil still life. He works in oil on copper, primarily at a small scale (roughly 4×4″ to 10×10″, or 10×10 cm 25×25 cm).
Most of the pieces currently in his online portfolio give the appearance of a shadowbox behind the frame, in which fruits, flowers or small objects are arranged.
Fascinatingly, he often incorporates trompe l’oeil “inserts” of painted frame, leaving the viewer in question as to the boundary between the physical frame and the painting of a frame. Torigoe will at times play with that uncertainty by extending objects over the edge of the trompe l’oeil frame.
Within this delightful context are his beautifully realized still life objects.