• David Salle (American, born 1952), After Michelangelo, The Flood, 2005–2006. Oil and acrylic on linen, 90 x 185 inches. Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, Gift of Margaret S. Bilotti, 2018.10.2

  • John Torreano, P.M.’s Mum

    John Torreano (American, born 1941), P.M.’s Mum, 1985. Painted and incised plywood with plastic, 96 x 108 inches. Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, N.Y., Gift of Harrison and Julie Augur, 2012.24

What We See, How We See


Images seep into our everyday lives and inform our understanding of the world. We have become used to this onslaught, as pictures flash by us through social media—like Instagram, television advertising, pulsing LED billboards—as if we were flipping through a magazine. What we are doing is looking, grabbing a superficial intake of immediacy. Seeing is not the same as looking. To see an image is to slow down and observe a totality of visual information over a period of time. Looking is passive. Seeing is active and all-inclusive. 

What we see in these galleries are varied ways of conveying ideas, thoughts, and emotions through both realistic and abstract images and gestures. Each of the artists represented here has a point of view and something to communicate through visual action. How we see their expressions is highly personal to each of us, and how we see and comprehend their work is filtered through the lens of our own experiences and modes of interpretation.