PHOSPHENE (2021) - Media: Acrylic on canvas / Size: 60cm -

When our eyes are closed, what, if anything, do we visually experience?

A phosphene is the phenomenon of seeing light without light actually entering the eye. Phosphenes can be directly induced by mechanical, electrical, or magnetic stimulation of the retina or visual cortex, or by random firing of cells in the visual system.

The most common phosphenes are pressure phosphenes, caused by rubbing or applying pressure on or near the closed eyes. Experiences include a darkening of the visual field that moves against the rubbing, a diffuse coloured patch that also moves against the rubbing, well defined shapes such as bright circles that exist near or opposite to where pressure is being applied, an ever-changing, deforming and decreasing patch of light that eventually disappears.

The circular black canvas represents the eye closed, with a rainbow liquid coating that shifts through a spectrum of colour as heat is applied. As the energy disperses the colours shrink, as I see it in my mind. This pattern comes when I wake in the middle of the night and try to get back to sleep, covering my face with the inner part of my elbow.