Artists have been creating paintings that produce the illusion of real objects for centuries. Trompe l’oeil—from the French phrase “deceives the eye”—is the art term that describes the effect of their visual deception. Contemporary artists often create an additional level of content by adding visual references relevant to contemporary events, situations, and observations. 

Nobody’s Fool highlights the work of contemporary artists Kirk Hayes and Michael Bane, both of whom employ the technique of trompe l’oeil in their art.   

Beyond the fact that both seek to “fool” the viewer, their works are quite dissimilar. Hayes’ illusionary depth is shallow with visual elements contained within the parameter of the traditional painting rectangle. His humorous, autobiographical, and sometimes dark tableaus emerge from what appears as appropriated collaged elements adhered to found substrates of faux plywood or cardboard. Bane’s works often appear as unspectacular objects. Yet under close scrutiny, one discovers they are meticulously fabricated ruses making us believe we are looking at the back of vintage painting canvases, collaged surfaces, or stacks of everyday items. 


KIRK HAYES,  Painter , 1994, oil on panel, 23 x 30 in. Collection of the Old Jail Art Center; Bequest of Sonny Burt. 2014.006

KIRK HAYES, Painter, 1994, oil on panel, 23 x 30 in. Collection of the Old Jail Art Center; Bequest of Sonny Burt. 2014.006

MICHAEL BANE,  Back Story , 2013, acrylic on panel, 14 x 11 in. Collection of Dr. Shane Berger and Dr. Ron Paul. Photographed by David Wharton.

MICHAEL BANE, Back Story, 2013, acrylic on panel, 14 x 11 in. Collection of Dr. Shane Berger and Dr. Ron Paul. Photographed by David Wharton.