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Friday / August 19.
HomemifeatureThe Spectacle of Perspective

The Spectacle of Perspective

Take a wok and drill, add several hundred lenses and a selection of frames, then finish with fishing line and silicone. What do you get? A sensational perspective on visual art!

Zoe Selby is a budding artist with a fascination for the eye. In 2015, in her final year of high school, Zoe worked as a junior staff member in the Armidale branch of Brennan and Smith Optometrists. The experience inspired her major work for her Higher School Certificate Visual Arts course. Little did she know that the construction would be such a challenge – or that it would create such an impact in the practice. mivision asked Zoe about her creative journey and what she discovered along the way.

Why did you choose to build sculptures using eyewear?

I wanted to portray different perspectives of ideas and events in the way that everyday people view the world. By using different lenses and spectacle frames I was able to demonstrate the vast differences in a physical sense, but also in a conceptual sense, as the way the prescription lenses altered the view of my work.

The eyeball was extremely difficult to shape so I used a large kitchen wok to ensure a circular shape

Where did the inspiration come from?

My inspiration came through working at Brennan and Smith Optometrists in Armidale, as I was surrounded by optical equipment and devices. I was amazed at the difference in lenses, lens designs and frames and thought that this captured my concept of different perspectives.

What was it like working with the medium of frames and lenses compared to other mediums, and what other mediums have you integrated into these sculptures?

I found many challenges using the medium of frames and lenses. I had to use a heat gun to make the frames malleable enough to sculpt into the form of a human eye, which at times overheated and melted the frames I was working with. Similarly, it was difficult to drill holes in each of the lenses to create the lens sheet hanging. Many times the force of the drill cracked the lenses and I was forced to discard the lens. Other mediums I integrated included silicone to join the frames into a ball, .005mm fishing line to attach the lenses together, mirrors to line the base of the frame and steel to frame the artwork.

What challenges did you encounter during the design and production process?

The lenses were often fragile and subject to breaking. If a single lens broke I was forced to cut out multiple lenses. Similarly, I struggled to find lenses which would connect and not leave a massive gap in the lens sheet. The eyeball was extremely difficult to shapeso I used a large kitchen wok to ensure a circular shape and due to using the medium of silicone, it often took a few days to dry. That meant I was only able to complete a small section at a time.

How did you connect the frames / lenses?

I connected the frames by clear silicone, which ensured that the lenses would bend and be more flexible to shape. For the lens sheet, I connected the lenses with the smallest fishing line available and tied each of them with a triple knot. Connecting the lenses to the outside frame of the lens sheet with fishing line was a vital part of the structure as it holds the lenses and the sheet in place.

How long did it take you to make each piece?

The lens sheet took me the longest by far – sourcing the lenses alone took me several weeks as I continually emailed optometrists. Altogether the lens sheet would have taken me at least 120 hours. I worked on it most days as well as weekends, spending lunch times and staying behind after school. The eyeball took me around six weeks.

What are you communicating through your sculptures?

The message I am trying to portray through my work is that each individual has a different perspective and glasses are a metaphor for this, showing how each person has their own specific perspective and how opinions and perspectives can differ between people.

I understand that you work in the practice – what do you get out of doing this?

What I get out of working in the practice is that I get to keep up with the current technology changes and usage. I enjoy working with a range of people and serving the public in all variety and walks of life, offering assistance towards their daily life and needs. The scientific side of optometry is also fascinating as it is a broad field and optics are continuously changing.

Do you have an interest in working in the profession?

I do have an interest working in optometry – the eye is an amazing part of human anatomy. From a young age I have always been interested in the human body and the fundamentals of anatomy.

Zoe recently commenced a Marketing and Media course at Macquarie University in Sydney. We wish her all the best.


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