Optical Illusion Art: How Angel Moreno Duped Me

Wednesday, March 25, 2015 Stef dela Cruz, MD 0 Comments

Art and science – there always seems to be a line dividing the two. Anything that's both an art and a science is seen as a wonderful anomaly instead of the norm. This dichotomy is an oddity and, as the one-man exhibit of Angel Moreno at The Dark and Light Gallery proves, both art and science are particularly interested in one subject: light.

Angel Moreno for Dark and Light GalleryMoreno’s exhibit actually launched The Dark and Light Gallery on March 21, 2015. Moreno’s family aside, nobody has laid eyes on the collection before the unveiling!

the dark and light galleryLook at all the red fabric cloaking the paintings!

Remember the title of this blog post? I mentioned something about Angel Moreno fooling me. To be more accurate, it was his art that fooled me! You’ll find out exactly how soon enough.

Angel Moreno Pulls Off Optical Illusion Exhibit at The Dark and Light Gallery

While the world of physics uses the qualities of light – its speed being the fastest in the known universe, for instance – to solve complex equations, the world of art revels much in the many colors you find in light’s spectrum.

Come to think of it, color and light are inseparable. After all, our brains interpret the wavelengths of the visible electromagnetic spectrum in terms of color!

I know, I know, I'm going full nerd on you – sorry for digressing. But it's actually a great way for me to explain why the paintings of Angel Moreno make the perfect first exhibit for Dark and Light.

Dark and Light, Art and Science

Put simply, Moreno is mastering a technique that allows you to appreciate art whether the lights are on or off. Added bonus: His paintings even reveal different hues when you see them under the odd glow of black light!

Angel Moreno bee lightCheck out the above painting with the lights on. Now see it under black light below!

Angel Moreno bee dark

Can we see that once more, this time with another painting? Below, you find a monochromatic painting of koi fish. This is what it looks like with the lights on.

monochromatic koi light

Pretty, right? They seem to be swimming out of the painting! Now, here’s what it looks like with the lights off.

monochromatic koi darkWhoa! Look at the luminescent colors against the blue-tinged backdrop! My photo doesn’t do it justice – in real life, it’s quite a sight.

You might also be familiar with Moreno's past work. His past paintings tend to be real-life optical illusions. At first glance, I thought the painting below actually had stems protruding from the canvas, sort of like a sculpture-painting would.

Boy, I was wrong! See for yourself in the video below.

 Here's bestselling author/ columnist/ video blogger Stanley Chi, showing you how easy it is to get fooled into thinking that Moreno’s painting is protruding out of the canvas. Oddly cool, huh?

If you’re the type of person who’s always tempted to touch a painting, you’re going to love Angel Moreno’s work. You can touch his art all you want – it’s perfectly alright!

painting textureThe paint doesn’t chip. You can press a fingernail into the protruding paint and the indentation you make fades in seconds. The paint seems to bounce back to its original state! Reminds me very much of a term we used a lot in med school: turgor!

Now, in the 7th one-man art exhibit of Angel Moreno, you see a different technique. Aside from the dimensional tricks which have admittedly evolved from Moreno’s past work, you will also see colors fooling you.

Just switch the lights on and off – throw in some black light if you wish – and you will see Moreno’s art transform right before you.

Tiger King by Angelo MorenoThis painting of a tiger seems to be jumping out of its frame. Believe it or not, it’s just embossed about a centimeter or two from the canvas!

Tiger King darkAnd check out how it looks like with the lights switched on and off. Trust me, it looks better in real life.

Angel Moreno techniqueMoreno revealed that he uses a special style for layering paint to accomplish the morphing-color effect. The color changes, depending on whether you’re in a dark room or one that's well-lit. That’s exactly why his art is a shoe-in for Dark and Light Gallery’s first-ever exhibit!

Moreno also experimented with dimension in a new way, using glass pebbles and marbles as eyes for his animal paintings. Horses, roosters, and koi fish seem to be looking right at you because they're made of marbles!

Angel Moreno Running HorsesHere is Angelo Moreno’s painting of running horses. Now, check out what happens when I zoom in (see below).

horsesCan you see the marble eyes? Those glass pebbles definitely give the painting a new dimension!

Lucky Koi 3DThe paintings are far from being one-dimensional. Moreno allows the paint to rise off the canvas in strategic areas, giving you the illusion that you're looking at sculpture, not a painting.

Fernando SenaTouted as the Father of Philippine Art Workshop, Fernando Sena also graced the gallery launch. He had nothing but good things to say about Moreno’s work.

I was amazed at how humble Sena was. He said, “Hindi ako naniniwala sa inborn talent (I don't believe in inborn talent). Painting can be learned as long as you have the time and interest.”

As for Moreno’s artwork, I guess it's better if you saw for yourself. Aside from what you’ve already seen, there are a few more I’d like for you to see. (Including those I haven’t photographed, there are 30 pieces for you to choose from, if you're looking to buy!)

Angel Moreno sakura triptychAngel Moreno yin yangkoi lightkoi darkkoi evolution triptychkoi fish paintingkoi fishkoi paintingstiger wants to eat meroosters

If you think they're pretty in pictures, wait until you see them in person. Mind officially blown!

Adrienne Dy Stef dela CruzFellow doctor-writer Adrienne Dy of Unilab Foundation was also there. She was equally amazed by the art!

Art with a Heart

Did you know that for every piece of art you buy from the Angel Moreno exhibit, you're helping children use play time as therapy for trauma? Talk about art with a heart!

Play It ForwardPart of the proceeds from the exhibit go to Play It Forward, a child-centric program by Unilab Foundation which uses playtime as a way for children to recover from trauma and develop normally in spite of it.

Kim Marcelo“Angel has been quiet about it, but all his exhibits have beneficiaries,” said Kim Marcelo of The Dark and Light Gallery. This time around, Play It Forward receives part of the exhibit proceeds.

Rhodora Palomar-Fresnedi “When Angel asked if we wanted to be part of his exhibit, I said yes. At the time, I didn't even know we were going to be the beneficiaries,” said Rhodora Palomar-Fresnedi, executive director of Unilab Foundation. It wasn't the first time Moreno chose them to benefit from his exhibit earnings.

Catch the Exhibit before April 11!

Don't waste time – if you like art and you want a better future for today’s children, head over to The Dark and Light Gallery, located at 27-A P. B. Dionisio Building, Don Alejandro Roces Avenue, Quezon City. If you're on Waze or Google Maps, just look for Amoranto Sports Complex – the gallery is right across.

Angel Moreno artistAnd before I forget, did you know that I’m now officially the owner of an original Angel Moreno? Jealous yet? You should be!

But you better hurry, because the exhibit will run only until April 11, 2015! (I believe the horse painting has been reserved. If you're eyeing it, too bad! I'm sure the rest of his work will soon be purchased, so good luck beating others to it!)

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She maintains a health column in Health.Care Magazine and contributes to The Manila Bulletin. Add her to your circles.