-The Eye-
-Matthew T. Ross-

24 by 18 limited edition signed gallery canvas print 1 of 5 Sold
24 by 18 limited edition signed gallery canvas print 2 of 5 $648

The human eye is an absolutely gorgeous, albeit bizarre, structure. Just about everything about the eye is the opposite of our intuition. The visual scene hits the retina upside down. The retina itself is "backwards" in that the photo-receptors are towards the back of the retina while their projections are towards the front (this ultimately results in us having a blind spot). The information sent from the eye is based on a lack of electrical activity, rather than the electrical activity itself (as in most other sensory systems). Despite the peculiarities of our eye's anatomy, the brain can process visual information with amazing fidelity.

Humans have a particularly strong dependence on the sense of sight, giving us something a little more in common with birds than most other mammals (as they tend to rely more heavily on their sense of smell). It's not surprising that visual information is such a large part of cultural expression throughout all of human existence, including imagery of eyes. While many mammals use chemical signaling, such as pheromones, to attracts mates, we rely most heavily on appearances (again something shared with birds). This alone gives the medium of the image an amazing amount of power in culture. We're surrounded by images trying to command our attention, from the sexualized imagery of other humans to expertly sculptured and photographed shots of food. The image draws its power from our brain's reliance on sight to interpret the world around us. It should be no surprise that when creating artwork inspired by our own anatomy the best place to start would be with the eye itself.

The Eye, along with rest of my series on anatomy is meant to change in appearance based on the viewpoint of the observer. The shapes and details blend or become distinct depending on how closely you look at the artwork. Even our own cohesiveness depends on the vantage point of our observer. This was most fully realized upon the discovery of the cell; we were no longer one whole individual, but billions of individual pieces.

The colors for this image came from samples of my own eye color and images of the helix nebula. Despite being "simply" a giant cloud of space dust and gases the helix nebula looks to us to be a massive cosmic eye staring back at us. Ultimately, this speaks to our visual systems ability to determine patterns, particularly patterns that look like faces and eyes. Either that, or there is some great artist floating among the stars painting eyes to inspire us lowly earth artists.

Image Information:
Vector image of more than 10,000 strokes
Image source: The artist's right eye
Colors sampled from: Helix Nebula & the artist's eye color