Art Articles

A Good Eye

Desert Water Groove 1650 x 1275 Dubai Marina, Dubai UAE Nov 12 5.24pm

Desert Water Groove 1650 x 1275 Dubai Marina, Dubai UAE Nov 12 5.24pm

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.

How I work with abstraction

Many and varied art theories abound on the evolution of abstraction in art. I am of the opinion abstraction is not an unplanned improvised act of visualization.

I believe it evolves as a result of an artist's subconscious observations in reality. The artist’s brain has seen the shape or form for a moment, captured it on visual synapses and the resulting work is the artist's representation of what their brain has perceived it saw. 

My work is inspired by the belief these abstractions abound in the environment naturally every single moment of the day.  You just need to be aware of the phenomenon, be alert to and curious about how they manifest themselves and the affect, visually and emotionally, they have on you.

The feedback about the abstraction in my art has been profound and very helpful in enabling me to understand how I work with it. Viewers will offer come up to me and use very flattering references such as this work reminds them of Dali, Kandinsky, Klimt, Olsen, Williams, Rothko, Whiteley and so on.

I am always delighted when these masters are referenced as I too see modern art influences in the pictures. Indeed, it was through the influence of the modern art masters that these abstractions in nature revealed themselves to me.

Or maybe, it is the masters who saw these colours, forms and shapes in nature to commence and it is I, borrowing from their legacy, who is re-interpreting their works and influence using a 21st Century mode- the digital camera. 

The abstraction in these pictures has not been created using Photshop or digital enhancing software. Each image existed in reality at a moment in time in the beautiful environs of Sydney's Middle Harbour . There is no right or wrong way to view the work. Each piece is designed for viewers to form their own meaning in the abstraction through the shape, colour and form of the picture. 

My hope is the work encourages pleasurable aesthetic meditation and connection.

Feedback from Helen Zhang, China.
 ...“ I have been admiring your artworks on the beautiful website of yours.  Such a feast to the senses, but also they make me pause in awe and go inwards.  I love "Clearing the inner blueness"...every time it draws me in, gives me a different, tranquil and unique experience that's hard to put into words.  Thank you for enriching our lives with such incredible artwork...”

Here is a short film My Art Studio  that demonstrates my art practice in abstraction.