An Exploration of Mental Sight—“The Mind’s Eye”

“In His Own Mind,” by Idelle Okman Tyzbir

Man sees, he also talks. When he talks to others, he calls it communicating; when he talks to himself, he calls it thinking. When he sees the world around him, he calls it reality; when he sees in his mind’s eye, what is it?  All of the theories of creativity share the common assumption that creative ideas are formed in the unconscious, following an appropriate and necessary period of incubation.  …The moment of illumination is a visualization experiencea dense, wordless, sensory experience.”

—Seeing from The Mind’s Eye, Mike and Nancy Samuels

I work with artists—painters, sculptors, photographers—and the more I get to know them the less I understand how they see and therefore what they create. It brought me to an exploration of what it means to see with “the mind’s eye.”

I started looking for quotes and thoughts on the subject from artists, including poets, philosophers, and psychologists. I realized quickly that so much has already been said about this idea, and so well, that I had little to add. What I did find, however, was enriching and deserves to be shared:

A great thought begins by seeing something differently, with a shift of the mind’s eyeAlbert Einstein

Sight is what you see with your eyes, vision is what you see with your mind.” —Robert Kiyosaki

When I am ready to make a photograph I think I quite obviously see in my mind’s eye something that is not literally there in the true meaning of the work. I’m interested in something which is built up from within, rather than just extracted from without.” —Ansel Adams

The eyes are not responsible when the mind does the seeing.” —Publilius Syrus

The mind’s Eye is a testament to the complexity of vision and the brain and to the power of creativity and adaptation. And it provides a whole new perspective on the power of language and communication, as we try to imagine what it is to see with another person’s eyes, or another person’s mind—Oliver Sacks. M.D.

Your vision is not limited by what you can see, but by what you can imagine.” —Ellison Onizuka

The paradox of reality is that no image is as compelling as the one which exists in the mind’s eye.—Shana Alexander

Much more has been written on the topic, but in the end we know all about it, because we each have our own creative and individual way of seeing: our own mind’s eye.

Meet the artists at a reception on April 13, 4– 7 p.m., and explore “The Mind’s Eye” in conversation with Carole Carpenter, Patrick Ramsey, and Idelle Okman Tyzbir, and through their visions made manifest in Silk, Photography, Watercolor, and Metal, at the Topanga Canyon Gallery.

“In the Mind’s Eye” runs from April 3–28, Wednesday through Sunday


Topanga Canyon Gallery, founded in Topanga in 1989, is an artist-owned mutual benefit corporation. It is located at 120 N Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga CA 90290. For more information: (310) 455-7909; Gallery Hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 12:30-4:30 p.m.; Friday 12–8 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.– 6 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.–5 p.m. 


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