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Akin to an optical illusion, these charcoal illustrations by Tom French play with the notion of what can be seen first. The drawings initially just look like portraits of skulls until one studies the composition more closely and realizes that within the morbid depictions are delicate images of women.
The strength of Tom French’s skill as an artist is expressed in the way in which he is able to combine two diametrically opposed sensations and embody them both within a single painting. The skulls are entirely grotesque and macabre while the women are absolutely beautiful and serene. Rather than conflicting with each other, the two elements appear to exist as self-contained images, expressing their own aesthetic finesse which causes the image as a whole to fluctuate between alluring and foreboding.