Paintings for P. scripta
Sea turtles, together with other reptiles and birds, are part of the vertebrate group in which vision evolved to the highest levels of complexity (Walls, 1942). This suggests that when sea turtles returned to the aquatic realm, they did so with a great "toolbox" of visual system features, to be adapted to a predominantly aquatic lifestyle. As a "natural experiment," sea turtle vision is therefore of particular interest to vision science.
Loggerhead sea turtles can distinguish between color targets of blue (450 nm), green (500 nm), and yellow (580 nm) irrespective of the stimulus intensity. This is the first conclusive evidence of color discrimination in sea turtles based on the stimulus wavelength alone. Testing a wider range of wavelengths, Neumeyer and Arnold (1989) could establish that the freshwater turtle P. scripta has true tetra chromatic color vision, which includes the UV cone as a fully functional component of a color vision system, on that is significantly more complex than that of humans.
Sea turtle eyes have retained many of their reptilian features, such as relatively small eye and pupil size, but at the sea time show adaptations suited to a predominantly aquatic lifestyle, such as a flat cornea and a likely inability to appropriately accommodate in air. Sea turtles have the potential for exquisite color vision; however, the full extent of their cool discrimination abilities remains to be tested. Their spectral range extends into the UV waveband, which is likely to aid detection of planktonic and transparent prey. Exactly why these animals have retained such a variety of visual pigments and oil droplets is as yet unknown. For instance, little information is available on the role color discrimination may play in behaviors such as feeding or mate choice. There is certainly a need for more extensive and species-specific work on sea turtle behavior in their natural habitat as well as more lab-based and therefore controlled behavioral experiments on color vision in sea turtles to help solve this puzzle.
-from The Biology of Sea Turtles Volume 3, Edited by Jeannette Wyneken, Kenneth J. Lohmann, and John A. Musick, CRC, Press 2013.
video made with Ian Byers-Gamber
Over the last 15 years, artist Emily Joyce has been investigating abstraction, first with vinyl wall installations that flirted with narrative through the use of silhouettes and now with rhythmic, geometric paintings. Joyce has been included in many group and solo exhibitions in the United States and in Europe at venues including, Human Resources, Los Angeles, Machine Project, Los Angeles, LACE, Los Angeles, Inman Gallery, Houston, Sara Meltzer Gallery, New York, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Tang Teaching Museum, Saratoga Springs, New York, and more. She is currently working on co-curating (with Elissa Auther) “Aftereffect: O’Keeffe and Contemporary Painting” an exhibition that offers an alternate American art history by offering the work of ten contemporary painters who, like Joyce take inspiration from Georgia O’Keeffe and American Modernism.