Twenty-five years ago, Madeleine Popper went to an eye specialist who predicted that within two years she would be unable to drive, read or see people’s faces. As an artist, the prediction was devastating. When the time came when she could no longer see the end of the brush, the artist settled on finger painting.
“I feel joy in daubing my fingers in paint, then manipulating it with different motions. My whole self is at work,” she told The AJN, describing the feeling as “very instinctive”.
Following a successful show entitled My Vision Works in 2022, Popper, along with four other artists with different optical conditions, have come together yet again, to promote visual art achievements by legally blind artists, as well as encourage participants to use a different medium.
Four visual artists will exhibit their work and a harpist will perform on opening night.
“Our vision loss is due to accidents, degenerative diseases, aged-related loss of vision. But we are all lovers of creativity and independent expression,” Popper explained. “Our visitors will be astonished by the range of styles, techniques and the intensity of colours. We use our imagination, our previous knowledge and sometimes ‘we’ll see what happens’.”
Claire Hogan, who has been working in the visual arts for 20 years, started using acrylics and creating sculptures from recycled materials.
“Often people comment on details such as ‘I love the blue earrings.’ Or ‘how did you get the circle so perfect?’,” Hogan said, explaining that she can’t actually see that the earrings are blue and she paints the circles with her eyes shut. “I am legally blind and have learnt not to get frustrated. My work reflects how I perceive, see the world. So, it is brightly coloured, quirky and imperfect.”
Popper said that while the five artists all have different optical conditions, their love and interest in visual arts is what connects them.
“[It] allows us to express, experiment and apply ourselves.”
My Vision Works will open on November 28 and run for one week at @14 Gallery, Langridge Street, Collingwood.