Karen Mortillaro, master contemporary sculptor


This centuries-old art form takes you from one magical place to another.

Anamorphic Images

Stand in just the right place in front of a painting and see an image. Stand in any other position, and the image distorts to become unrecognizable. That is an anamorphic image. The ancient Greeks used such images. Artists of the Renaissance explored the concept in paintings and murals. A great leap forward was made in 17th century France when artists made drawings that had to be viewed with the aid of a cylindrical mirror.

Anamorphic Sculpture

Since the 17th century, anamorphic imagery has been neither further explored nor technically advanced. The artistic community has ignored its manifold possibilities. So anamorphic works have been restricted to flat images—until now.

Karen Mortillaro has taken anamorphism into sculpture, creating distorted 3D scenes that can be viewed in normal proportions in a mirror mounted within the piece. The difficulty of making any anamorphic image is already forbidding but becomes even more so in sculpture. Karen has made it even more painstaking by using many kinds of mirrors—cylindrical but also irregular and S-shaped “wave” mirrors.

Despite the difficulty, Karen’s amazing objects are done entirely by hand. She uses no computers, 3D software, 3D scanning, or computer numerical control (CNC) milling.