Exhibitions: The Eye of the Artist: The Work of Devorah Sperber

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    The Eye of the Artist: The Work of Devorah Sperber

    • Dates: January 26, 2007 through June 17, 2007
    • Organizing Department: Prints, Drawings and Photographs ?
    • Collections: Contemporary Art
    • Location: This exhibition is no longer on view in Mezzanine Gallery, 2nd Floor
    • Description: The Eye of the Artist: The Work of Devorah Sperber. [01/26/2007 - 05/06/2007]. Installation view.
    • Citation: Brooklyn Museum Digital Collections and Services. Records of the Department of Digital Collections and Services. (DIG_E_2007_Sperber)
    • Source: born digital
    • Related Links: Main Exhibition Page
    Exhibition Didactics ?
    • The Eye of the Artist: The Work of Devorah Sperber
      Interested in the links between art, science, and technology, Devorah Sperber deconstructs familiar images to address the way we think we see versus the way the brain processes visual information. “As a visual artist,” she says, “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.”

      Sperber’s renderings of widely recognized images in the history of Western art, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper and Mona Lisa, begin with computer-generated pointillist diagrams or maps. Substituting colored spools of thread or crystals for the pixels or color points of the diagrams, Sperber re-creates the masterpieces as life-sized, three-dimensional installations.

      The artist hangs the works made with spools of thread upside down—a reference to the fact that the lens of the eye projects an inverted image of the world on the retina. From a few feet away, the compositions appear abstract. However, when viewed through an optical device—which, like the lens of the eye, not only inverts but also focuses the image—they appear as sharp, faithful, right-side-up reproductions of the famous paintings.

      In the crystal works, Sperber directly engages the “centered-eye” theory, which argues that throughout the history of Western portraiture one eye of the sitter is often located at or near the vertical center of the composition. Each crystal work consists of two flanking symmetrical images created by dividing a portrait along the vertical axis and mirroring each side. Sperber’s labor-intensive process proves the theory of eye-centeredness by creating in effect two new “portraits” in which an eye is located quite obviously exactly at or near the vertical center. To see the original portrait emerge, viewers are encouraged to step back and, using a hand or a piece of paper, block out the two middle portions of the overall work.

      Marilyn S. Kushner
      Exhibition Curator

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