Concepts – explaining visual art

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Eye / Brain / Mind / Art

Light enters the eye and is analysed and interpreted by nerve processors in the retina of the eye which is an extension of the nerve system of the brain. In the brain, multiple categories of interpretation are applied to wide range of signals. These signals are filtered, processed and groomed with processes based on experience and evolution in a processor system far more complex than all of the computers connected through the Internet. Out of this comes a stream of information that includes edges and shapes of values. This information is processed based on a database of experience commonly referred to as “life”. The result is modification of a model of reality that is used by our minds to make “sense” of the world and becomes part of our “mental world model”.

All of this data, communication, processing, etc. occurs in every human skull in a small fraction of a second (it takes you about one-quarter to one-half of a second to recognize a familiar object). You know what a cat looks like whether it is standing, leaping, sleeping, bathing itself, however after only a brief glance, you may have difficulty distinguishing that ball of fur sleeping on the table from a meatloaf, however, if it were sleeping on the sofa, additional contextual cues might make that recognition easier. This is the beginning of art, in both the sophisticated processing and the social interpretation.

To make a “work of art” out of this mental experience, requires that an artist create something tangible that causes another person (the viewer) to recreate part of that mental experience in their own mind. This experience is literally a “re-creation” at one or more levels. These levels of recreation are commonly referred to as “abstractions”.

When creating a “realistic” image, an artist attempts to create data in the retina of the viewer that causes the viewer to recreate the experience of seeing the original image. This recreation will then trigger a series of events in the brain and mind of the viewer. This series of events is commonly known as “interpretation” and because each person uses his or her own life experience data and reactions, such interpretations are individualized or “personal”. Some artists attempt to reach through the mental process to evoke a personal reaction directly without the intervention of a recognizable subject such art is referred to as “abstract” or “expressionist”. Because of commonalities of physiology, social experiences and cultures, these interpretations can be discussed, analyzed and communicated in “meta” form. Out of such analysis arise such subjects as “art appreciation”, “art history” and the limiting concepts of “schools of art”.

Creation and interpretation of highly abstracted art is based on foundation art skills but is not a foundational skill, so such subjects will not be part of FAS.



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