The Persistence of Vision: Early and Late Works by Artists with Macular Degeneration @UC_DAAP

Robert Andrew Parker, Antonov 2011The Persistence of Vision: Early and Late Works by Artists with Macular Degeneration, an exhibition that explores the versatile, inventive, and personal ways artists respond to the challenge of working with the loss of sight, 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. The exhibition is curated by A’Dora Phillips and Brian Schumacher, from the Vision and Art Project, and Aaron Cowan, Director, DAAP Galleries, and is supported by The American Macular Degeneration Foundation. There will be an opening reception on Friday June 15 from 6-8 pm.

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. 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). By juxtaposing art produced both before and after the onset of symptoms, this exhibition demonstrates how deteriorating sight can inspire new and unique images. These artists honed their other faculties, drawing from remembered gestures, memories and their imaginations. Through adapting their practices, these artists forged new insights into familiar subjects, and discovered a clarity of inner-vision.

This exhibition considers how, when faced with vision loss, artists transformed their approach to art making, including changing their technique and medium. Through this, there emerges a profound insight into the evolution of each artist’s oeuvre, inviting an examination of the themes, feelings and intentions woven throughout their careers. Importantly, this draws attention to an issue that is prevalent in the lives of many artists, as macular degeneration will affect three in ten people, something that is rarely acknowledged or discussed.

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.’ Dahlov Ipcar spoke of the hand knowing what line to draw from long experience and body memory. This exhibit shows how powerful art can be when derived from these sources.”