As we move into spring from winter, I am reminded of M.C. Escher’s woodcut Day & Night, which captures another transition. In this engaging yet perplexing image, white and black birds appear above the checkered fields below, marking the switch from the nocturnal to the diurnal. Escher plays with negative and positive space, light and dark, and foreground and background, causing the viewer to constantly readjust their understanding of the scene. What do you see first?
—Mary Weaver Chapin, Curator of Prints and Drawings
M. C. Escher (Dutch, 1898–1972), Day & Night, 1938. Woodcut in black and grey, printed from two blocks. Gift of Mr. George O’Leary, 2019.89.16