Powerful Art Exhibition Juxtaposes Artists Works Before And After Onset Of Blindness.

The Persistence of Vision: Early and Late Works by Artists with Macular Degeneration is an exhibition that explores the versatile, inventive, and personal ways artists respond to the challenge of working with the loss of sight. The exhibition considers how, when faced with vision loss, artists transformed their approach to art making, including changing their technique and medium. By juxtaposing art produced both before and after the onset of symptoms, the exhibition demonstrates how deteriorating sight can inspire new and unique images.

David Levine, The Front, 2004. Pre-macular. Private Collection.
David Levine, The Last Battle, 2007-2008. Post-macular. Private Collection.

The Persistence of Vision brings together 50 works by eight artists affected by macular degeneration, a common disease of the retina that results in central vision loss. The artists honed their other faculties, drawing from remembered gestures, memories and their imaginations. Through adapting their practices, the artists forged new insights into familiar subjects.

Lennart Anderson, Idyll 3, 1979–2011. Pre- and post-macular. Estate of Lennart Anderson, Courtesy Leigh Morse Fine Arts
Lennart Anderson, Three Nymphs on a Bluff, 2014-15. Post-macular. Estate of Lennart Anderson, Courtesy Leigh Morse Fine Arts.

Artists included in the exhibition are: Lennart Anderson (1927–2015), Serge Hollerbach (1923), Dahlov Ipcar (1917–2017), David Levine (1926–2009), Robert Andrew Parker (1927), Thomas Sgouros (1927–2012), Hedda Sterne (1910–2011), and William Thon (1906–2000).

Co-curator A’Dora Phillips, Director of the Vision and Art Project, remarks that “Artists affected by vision loss have extraordinary inner resources that allow them to continue working and producing compelling images. Serge Hollerbach speaks of drawing on his ‘third eye,’ which for him is ‘something that your spirit, or your mind, or your soul, sees.’ William Thon spoke of the presence of instinct and feeling that allows an artist to work like a sailor does, by ’throwing his bowline in the dark.’ 

The exhibition will be on view at The DAAP Galleries: Philip M. Meyers, Jr. Memorial Gallery at the University of Cincinnati from June 8 to July 29 2018.

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