Our vision depends on two things: having a healthy eye to receive visual information and having a healthy brain to interpret and process that information. This allows us to see a picture of the world. When London based artist Dene Leigh’s grandfather suffered a stroke, it left him unable to recognize faces, objects and words- pieces to the puzzle of our vision that he puts back together again in his paintings and assemblages of objects.
“After observing the neurological impairments that my grandfather experienced after a stroke, I specifically represent the impediments faced- the incapacity to communicate and understand language in its written and spoken form, and the inability to identify formerly familiar objects, faces and places,” Leigh shared in an email to Hi-Fructose.
Looking at his work immediately creates a feeling being off-kilter, struggling to make sense of familiar parts in an unfamiliar order. Crumpled paper and nonsensical windows are jigsawed together with images of profiles and hairlines, where the face is always left obscured or unrecognizable. Some of the objects represented are his grandfather’s, given a new purpose in the context of Leigh’s art- with each piece, he mounts the degree of confusion, bringing the viewer closer to his grandfather’s struggle.
“I create ambiguous representations of objects that are often combined and dismembered, rendering them unfamiliar. Mutating them from something that could be known to something foreign, decayed and entirely transformed,” he explains. “My work addresses questions about the fragility and impermanence of the human memory.”