PROVO, Utah — A word of warning: If you're planning to take in the Walter Wick exhibit \"Gadgets, Gizmos and Toys in the Attic\" currently on display at Brigham Young University's Museum of Art, plan to spend a big chunk of your afternoon.You'll want to have time not only to study the incredible art shots and detailed dioramas, but also time to solve the little puzzles and riddles laced throughout.There's much to see and do here, from finding the missing parts on the playing cards in \"Card Tricks\" to discovering the path through the alphabet blocks in \"Alphabet Magic.\"Children will like seeing the video of how Wick put his robot together with spare parts, and adults will enjoy trying to outwit the optical illusions.Wick, an accomplished photographer who obviously suffers from an overabundance of imagination, has spent a lifetime creating the paintings and images that make up the pages of the \"I Spy\" books, games and puzzles.In this exhibit, he shows how it's done and shares a lot of the back story.But even after watching the videos and reading the explanations, it's hard to believe he can so consistently think outside the box — or in several instances, outside the mirrors.He brings together creativity and attention to tiny detail as he designs whole cities from cardboard and his mother's kitchen utensils.Salt shakers become the tops of buildings, and party favors become skyscrapers.It's ingenious and impressive.The photographs alone — of an egg balanced on a pop bottle with a cork supporting two kitchen forks and a soap bubble captured on a pedestal and a pin suspended on the surface of the water in a glass — are breathtaking.The mirror images boggle the mind. (The artist says the digital era has made it much easier to photograph these tough sets.)Many of the images are time-intensive, requiring study and attention if you're going to experience all the layers built in.Others are simply hard to believe because they break the rules, and so entertain.Wick was a child who walked to school in rural Connecticut on stilts he made from tree limbs. His mother said he always walked with a bounce.\"This must be true because I remember having a very happy childhood,\" he said. He also had an understanding mother, given that most of her kitchen utensils were borrowed for one project or another on a regular basis. Today he has an understanding wife.\"My first serious interest in art began with drawing and painting in high school,\" Wick said. His brother introduced him to photography and he went on to study photojournalism at Paier College in Hamden, Conn. Wick was fascinated with the technical challenges of making surfaces, shadows and highlights look exactly right.He moved to New York and opened a studio, but it was tough to find clients, so he had a lot of time to explore new ideas and techniques.\"I was organizing screws, paper clips and other odds and ends. As I began sorting, I like the way the objects looked spread out on my light box. After hours of careful arranging, I took a picture. This photograph of odds and ends was the spark that inspired the first 'I Spy' book.\"Wick told the Deseret News he has an endless supply of ideas and plans. His next book \"Can You See What I See\" is a visit to a sunken treasure ship.\"I've come to the end of the road and now I'm on the sea,\" he quipped.He loved coming to Utah — a first for him — seeing the mountains and visiting the youngsters who came out to meet him.\"In all the years I've been doing photography, I've never had a more appreciative audience than kids,\" he said. \"I suspect I'll be creating children's books for a long time to come.\"The exhibit will be open through Aug. 1 and is free. New museum hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Thursday it's open until 9 p.m. and on Saturday until 5 p.m.
Walter Wick exhibit not for anyone in a hurry
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