The Double Blind Test Series is a collection of prints by David Lyons that uses visual elements from various sources, including the Ishihara Colour Blind Test Plates, words from William Blake, Aldous Huxley and Tom Wolfe alongside tactile textures derived from Braille. The exhibition runs at the Hannah Maclure Centre from July 29th – August 9th, with a preview evening on Friday July 26th at 6pm.
Conceived as an investigation into non-visual typography, the prints foreground theories of perception, exploring the idea that the works can be experienced differently dependent on one’s visual abilities. Some of the messages of the work would be perceived only by certain audiences, and viewers with different abilities would experience the work not only differently but in ways that had hidden meanings or messages.
While the prints retain many aspects of the Ishihara test’s layouts, motifs and colours, they also extend the test’s aesthetic by varying the chroma of the hues and the values of the greys. In addition, the Ishihara Plates do not test for the rare blue-yellow colour blindness so Lyons has created his own, based on colour spectrum illustrations for blue-yellow colour blindness and the Ishihara layouts.
Embedded throughout the prints are selections of texts that relate to perception – Aldous Huxley’s ‘Doors of Perception Heaven and Hell’, William Blake’s ‘Marriage of Heaven and Hell’ and Tom Wolfe’s ‘Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test’ all feature, their words stripped of their original formatting and masked using Ishihara inspired layouts which creates random configurations of the words and therefore the chance to derive new meanings from the texts.
David Lyons studied graphics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and printmaking at the Art Institute of Chicago and Loyola University, Chicago. Before coming to Scotland he designed exhibits for Charles Schulz and Peanuts as well as working for the Space Centre, Houston. He has taught at the University of Wisconsin Stout and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and currently lectures in Media Design at the University of Abertay, Dundee.
Lyons early life in Chicago was dominated by skateboarding and playing bass in punk rock bands. His later life has been dominated by an early-onset and continuing mid-life crisis resulting in continued bass playing in punk rock bands. Artistically he is influenced by Barbara Kruger, Saturday morning cartoons, tabloid newspapers and Dan Flavin.