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San Francisco

Axis Gallery

Exhibition Detail
Seeing as Believing: Phosphene Visions
625 S Street
Sacramento, CA 95811

December 5th, 2009 - January 24th, 2010
916 443-9900
Sat-Sun 12-5 or by appointment
Sacramento State University, UC Davis
abstract, installation, conceptual, photography, video-art, figurative, digital, mixed-media

The anatomy and physiology of vision is still being researched but the current understanding of vision is of an assembled sense collated by the visual cortex (V1-V6), collating color, movement, form and depth. Before Descartes, debates occurred whether the eyes emitted or just received light. Plato believed in extromission: that the eyes projected beams of light that illuminated what the person was then able to see.

The title of the exhibition was used to interrogate the terms, “seeing is believing” and “I can’t believe my eyes” and the essential issue of visual truth. In the age of manipulated digital information, Photoshop, and CGI, we view the term photodocumentation with valid skepticism and as a potential oxymoron.

This exhibition examines a type of non event: the perception of light in the absence of any light entering the eye, termed a phosphene: an entoptic (within the eye) phenomenon caused by mechanical, electrical, pharmacologic, pathologic, or magnetic stimulation of the retina, visual cortex, or cells in the visual system. (The aural analog to this is tinnitus, the perception of a near constant ringing sound in the ears in the absence of external sound.) It has also been termed “prisoner’s cinema.” The exhibition includes works that creatively interprets these issues on literal, metaphorical, and lyrical levels through paintings, drawings, videos, sculpture, and photo-based works.

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