A Good Eye
Regularly viewers of my work tell me I have a “good” eye. The reality is I have very very bad eyesight. I have a serious eye condition known as keratoconus. Keratoconus is the slow deterioration and ultimate death of the muscles in the cornea, the surface of the eye. In the mid-1980s I had a corneal transplant that reclaimed sight in my right eye and I am legally blind in my left eye without a hard contact lens that holds my deteriorating cornea in place for the moment.
A recent trip to my eye surgeon provided totally unexpected insight – the pun is intended – as to how this condition plays into my artistic practice and why I see the world the way I do.
The surgeon had sitting in on the consultation a trainee ophthalmologist and in a brief exchange between the two as the surgeon was looking into my eyes through his phoropter, the surgeon explained keratoconus sufferers see the world in a unique way.
A normal cornea has the firmness and shape of a camera lens allowing the brain immediate focus in any given moment. On the other hand, keratoconus sufferers are always seeing shapes with slightly blurred or haloed edges. Their brains have learnt to accept this abnormality in focus searching for movement and stillness to enable perception as distinct from those with normal eyesight whose brains register immediate sharpness on focus. The images I create come as a result of my brain harnessing the uniqueness of the way my eyes see the world. I am often asked by viewers “what am I looking at ?”and on reflection the viewer is observing my subconscious at work, actively interacting with my impaired body - specifically my deeply damaged eyesight..
At last, an explanation perhaps for the “good” eye.