Blending abstraction and artistic form with medical illustrations of eye diseases, the pieces in the Lowe Art Museum’s current exhibition feature interesting resemblances to real-world objects, such as glittering seas, the moon and even a Christmas tree.
Referencing Henry David Thoreau, who considered the eyes a person’s “noblest feature,” the Lowe Art Museum’s “The Noblest Feature: The Eye Paintings of J. McGuinness Myers” exhibition was put on display this March and has been extended until October 2.
The exhibition features a selection of artistic representations of diseases and conditions of the eye painted by J. McGuinness Myers, a medical illustrator by trade. Pieces are accompanied by brief descriptions of each disease pictured, written by Dr. Richard K. Forster from the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, who made the exhibit possible.
The pieces featured at the Lowe are part of a larger collection commissioned by University of Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute from 1966-68, which were not published as a complete collection until 2012. These works marked the first true departure of Myers’s work from the strictly medical and descriptive into a markedly more abstract and artistic form, as he had only previously worked on true-to-form medical illustrations.
The exhibit is not only for those who are medically inclined. Even in context, each of these pieces can stand alone as a work of abstract art. Outside of the medical, each piece is truly open to interpretation, with hidden meanings sure to be found by each new viewer. Myers completed the last few of these paintings before he grew fatally ill in the final months of 1968.
The Lowe Art Museum, located near Stanford Circle at 1301 Stanford Drive, is the university’s on-campus doorway to artworks that range in style, such as Baroque, Renaissance and modern, along with pieces originating from Asia, Africa, Europe and North and South America. Since its opening in 1952, the Lowe has been dedicated to serving as a learning center and cultural petri dish for the student body as well as the Coral Gables community, with permanent exhibitions as well as limited-time engagements.
With monthly events open to the public, new exhibitions being brought in frequently and a warm, welcoming staff ready to answer any and all questions, the Lowe is definitely a must for new students and visitors. Daytime admission is free for UM students, faculty and staff with valid Cane Cards, $8 for non-UM students and seniors and $12.50 for adults.
For more information on the latest featured exhibitions, hours or events on the calendar at the museum, visit www.loweartmuseum.org.