New York-based artist Randall Rosenthal’s work really is a chip of the old block.
Rosenthal, 65, specialises in incredible wooden sculptures of mundane, everyday items such as a chopping board, a pile of newspapers and an atlas.
Each piece is carefully crafted from a single piece of wood – a process which can take months to complete – and then intricately hand-painted.
The sculptures are so realistic that they can be easily mistaken for the real thing. The only give away is the slight hint of the wood’s grain showing through the paint.
Rosenthal doesn’t work from models or photographs, preferring to imagine the scene in his mind before approaching the wood.
Rosenthal says: “My hope is they will seem real from a short distance, but on closer inspection I don’t try to hide the fact they are wood.
“My work is completely reductive. I start with a solid block and remove material until I am done.
“Painting is the opposite and I paint until I am satisfied.
“It should be noted however that often the painting has as little room for error as the carving.”
When Rosenthal puts on a show or gallery exhibition, he likes to keep his audience guessing by only allowing one of his sculptures to be touched.
The others are protected leaving his audience to decide whether they are real or not.
His “Lunch Money” sculpture, representing stacks of hundred dollar bills in a corrugated cardboard box took six weeks to carve and another six to finish painting.
Art lovers had to pay out $25,000 in ‘real’ money for the sculpture.
Rosenthal’s work is part of a wider genre of hyper-realistic art in where a painting or a sculpture is made to look like a high resolution image or 3-D projection.