The large, digital photographs of Kieren Seymour’s exhibition, Blue Blindness, present a unique, highly original worldview. The title of the show refers to the notion that, in the words of the artist: “there is a diminished spectrum of colours for an individual to perceive relative to their mental state.” The idea that altered psychological states can affect one’s perception links to the broader concept that technology is already altering reality. The degree to which this is already happening may not even be evident to us, so firmly are we enmeshed in the ‘actuality’.
For this group of works, Seymour has been researching, amongst other things, the double helix structure of the DNA molecule – which consists of two strands that wind around each other like a warped ladder. Future technology will enable science to target disease by altering or manipulating individual DNA strands. We are perched on the brink of a cascade of new technology, and it is impossible to imagine the incalculable benefits (or potential perils) that they will offer humanity.
Seymour explores such elements using a succession of witty metaphors. The images in the exhibition make repeated reference to things below the surface: the unseen; the hidden; the underneath; the ‘inside’. There are metaphoric allusions to construction, which relate to DNA as the building blocks of all life. One symbolic image features a globe of the world, semi-deflated and squashed through the helix-like railings of a wooden staircase. Another work features a peeled mandarin, which teeters, globe-like, atop a fan. In several works, we see the Earth distorted into cone shapes, perhaps referencing the ‘cones and rods’ in the eyeball, which correspond to and allow us to see certain colours. Elsewhere, curious figures are depicted, scrawled on paper, or carved out of sponge; in one instance a surreal hand crawls across a carpet to grapple with a communications tablet.
Seymour’s presentations of ‘hand-made’, low-tech tableaux, which deal with infinitely complex subject matter, are very engaging. There is a mordant humour at play across the exhibition.