Seeing the bigger picture

Artist Luke Jerram has worked with Bristol Vision Institute to produce the stunning Impossible Garden exhibition at the University’s Botanic Garden.

Were you lucky enough to be in student residences near Bristol’s Botanic Garden? Did you spend some time as a student in this restorative space surrounded by a plethora of plants and flowers? If you haven’t been back recently you have until 25 November to catch a wonderful exhibition at the Garden, which is a collaboration between artist Luke Jerram, the University’s Bristol Vision Institute, the Botanic Garden and the University of Bristol Eye Hospital.

Over 15,000 visitors have explored the Impossible Garden exhibition since July this year, more than double the number of people enjoying the Botanic Garden in the same time last year.

The Impossible Garden is a unique set of 12 new experimental sculptures, inspired by visual phenomena and designed to help promote understanding and stimulate debate about how visual impairments can affect our perception of the world around us. The artist Luke Jerram is himself red-green colour blind and he has commented:

I’m fascinated by the processes of visual perception. Over the years many of my artworks have explored the processes and limitations of vision. The Impossible Garden has allowed me to test new ideas and share my findings with the public.

The unique idea of The Impossible Garden came about after Luke’s nine-month residency at the Bristol Eye Hospital and Bristol Vision Institute (BVI), funded by the Leverhulme Trust.  Luke applied for the residency together with Cathy Williams, a member of BVI and a Consultant in Paediatric Ophthalmology at Bristol Eye Hospital. Cathy hopes this exhibition will encourage greater public understanding about the many processes involved in “seeing”, because families tell her that lack of understanding is often a barrier to getting support for children with many kinds of visual impairment.

The University of Bristol is recognised as a world leader in vision research, spanning human and animal vision, artificial vision systems, visual information processing and the creative arts. Bristol Vision Institute (BVI) is the home of vision science research in Bristol and has been successfully stimulating research interaction and collaboration in science, engineering, Arts and Medicine since its creation in 2008 with the aim of addressing grand challenges in vision research. BVI’s research is on developing a better understanding of the visual mechanisms and processes evolved in humans and other animals, and their translation to innovations in technology, medicine and the creative arts.

Do take the time to visit this great exhibition in the beautiful Botanic Garden, before it finishes on November 25.

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