How Artists Fight Vision Loss and Continue to Make New Work

Category: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion
A painting by Dahlov Ipcar, Harlequin Jungle (pre-macular), 1972. © Estate of Dahlov Ipcar. Courtesy of Rachel Walls Fine Art. The image features colorful animals and natural scenes on an abstract background of triangles.

In this article, Claire Voon explores how artists who are visually impaired as a result of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) continue to create for their audiences. She highlights a recent exhibition at the The Philip M. Meyers, Jr. Memorial Gallery at the University of Cincinnati featuring more than 50 works by eight contemporary artists affected by AMD.

“Our project hopes to make [the realities of AMD] very public and open: that this affects a lot of artists, and they continue working. We’re trying to make sure that their works continue to be shown and known, because vision loss can be very isolating.”

-A’Dora Phillips

Like O'Keeffe, many artists who eventually have only peripheral sight are pushed to explore new mediums. The tireless painter Hedda Sterne, diagnosed with AMD at the age of 83, discovered that she could no longer paint five years later. She found solace in drawing, and, unable to see color, made monochromatic sketches with graphite, oil pastel, and even Wite-Out.

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