Seeing is Believing

Devorah Sperber's Art of Perception

Created from an assemblage of everyday items such as spools of thread, pen caps or thumb tacks, Devorah Sperber’s optical art presents viewers with out-of-focus reproductions of famous images that challenge our ability to “see” and interpret. It is only when the work is viewed through a clear acrylic sphere, convex mirror or reverse binoculars that the “pixels” condense to produce a clear image. 

Sperber has always been interested in the biology behind the act of viewing, the way the human eye takes individual pieces of information and through the use of patterning in the primary visual cortex, creates a whole. Here, the eye is initially unable to interpret the hanging sculpture as a complete image and instead fixates on the individual spools. Once the work has been viewed through the acrylic sphere, however, the brain is able to shift back and forth between the seeing of the recognizable image to the individual elements as it now has the information necessary to interpret. As the artist explains, “Once the viewer ‘knows’ the image is visible in the thread, he or she can not erase it. Thus, these works function as neurological primers, literally priming or teaching the brain to make sense of visual imagery it has not yet been exposed to”.

I am interested in the link between art, science, and technology, how the eyes and brain prioritize, and reality as a subjective experience versus an absolute truth. As a visual artist, I cannot think of a topic more stimulating and yet so basic, than the act of seeing - how the human brain makes sense of the visual world.

Devorah Sperber