How to see beyond our eyes? How to make visual art without our sight?
A group of five artists has explored what it means to have little to no sight, what it is to be losing this sense or to have temporary blindness, but also what it does to deliberately choose other body mechanics instead of sight in the process of artmaking.
‘Blind Sight’ is an inclusive and collaborative exhibition that very personally examines ideas of awareness in the spectrum of vision. It showcases paintings, drawings, sculpture and audio installations as well as educational elements providing facts from the blind to the sighted. It will be accessible to the blind with braille descriptions and information.
Local artist Sarah Haxby has initiated this wonderful exploration and collaboration in the visual form of communication with her friend Verna Vogel, and three artists from the Canadian Organization of the Blind and Deafblind of Bowen Island.
Sarah Haxby is a community engaged artist. For this project, she has been creating artworks inspired by a medical condition that she experiences which causes temporary, partial, and full loss of sight. By combining large brush strokes and reductive imagery with more detailed drawings, she portrays local animals in a minimalist way.
Verna Vogel is a visual artist who lives and works in Calgary. Her studio practice taps into perceptions beyond the direct visual gaze. She emphasizes the peripheral senses and the intelligence of the body by setting up rules for herself, like drawing lines with eyes closed or using a limited number of colours for example.
Alex Jurgensen, Jessica Gladys and Jocelyn Gladys are exploring artmaking as people who identify as being blind by both medical and personal definition. Their sculpture and audio installation are a means to raise public awareness towards their underrepresented minority.
All together, they seek to highlight the cultural expression, history and vision of artists who experience sight not as a constant, but as a spectrum of individual experiences.
Blind Sight is on at the Hearth from November 9 to November 20. The Artist pARTy is Saturday, November 12 from 6 to 8pm with DJ Yeshe.