The Brain and Art

What the Brain Can Tell Us About Art

                                                                                                 Jonathan Rosen

                                                                                                 Jonathan Rosen

Two years ago President Obama unveiled a breathtakingly ambitious initiative to map the human brain, the ultimate goal of which is to understand the workings of the human mind in biological terms.

 Many of the insights that have brought us to this point arose from the merger over the past 50 years of cognitive psychology, the science of mind, and neuroscience, the science of the brain. The discipline that has emerged now seeks to understand the human mind as a set of functions carried out by the brain.

 This new approach to the science of mind not only promises to offer a deeper understanding of what makes us who we are, but also opens dialogues with other areas of study — conversations that may help make science part of our common cultural experience.

 Consider what we can learn about the mind by examining how we view figurative art. In a recently published book, Erick Kandel tried to explore this question by focusing on portraiture, because we are now beginning to understand how our brains respond to the facial expressions and bodily postures of others. 

The portraiture that flourished in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century is a good place to start. Not only does this modernist school hold a prominent place in the history of art, it consists of just three major artists — Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele — which makes it easier to study in depth.

 As a group, these artists sought to depict the unconscious, instinctual strivings of the people in their portraits, but each painter developed a distinctive way of using facial expressions and hand and body gestures to communicate those mental processes.” Read the rest of the article by Eric Kandel here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/14/opinion/sunday/what-the-brain-can-tell-us-about-art.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Note: For the first time in its history, the MFA will exhibit a painting by Gustav Klimt—among the most important artists of the early 20th century.

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 “Adam and Eve (1917–18) will be on loan from the Belvedere Museum in Vienna as part of the MFA’s Visiting Masterpiece series, giving visitors a taste of the artist’s signature style, including his sensuous approach to the nude, his bold experiments with pattern, color, and finish, and his exploration of human consciousness and desire. The work will be juxtaposed with the MFA’s life-sized study of a nude couple, Two Nudes (Lovers) (1913), painted by Klimt’s Viennese friend and colleague, Oskar Kokoschka. No more than five years separate the two paintings, which share many features—ambitious scale, daring experiments with form and finish, and, above all, a fascination with sexuality. Each is, in its own way, a product of Freud’s Vienna, but also of a singular artist with a singular vision.”

http://www.mfa.org/exhibitions/visiting-masterpiece-klimt

http://www.mfa.org/programs/course/klimt-and-his-contemporaries







It's Magic

We never know what we will see.  Each time nearly two hundred works come streaming into the NAA galleries - sometimes for an open show, sometimes for a juried show.  When the dust settles, works in various media, sizes, representing images of all kinds are parked along the walls of the galleries, some downstairs, some upstairs, perhaps gently resting on sawhorses ... and the challenge and excitement of a new installation are before us.  Each time I think "how will this happen? how will the pieces of an installation puzzle come together?"  We strive to make sure that all works are shown in their best light, hanging with other works that become their organic companions, either on the gallery walls or on pedestals.  The beginning is never easy ... and then we - my dear colleagues and I , some of us artists and some of us not - simply start, we jump in ... and from there, magic happens.  We thank the artists for entrusting us with this unique and treasured responsibility.  This is one of my favorite walls in the Newburyport Art Association's current Winter Members Juried Show, Part I.  

by Elena Ruocco Bachrach, Executive Director, NAA

 

a snapshot from the 2015 Winter Members Juried Show, Part I

Cape Ann Museum Re-Opens

The Light is Different Here

The Cape Anne Museum, located in Gloucester, has had a face lift; it was reopened after a six month renovation in August 2014.  If you have not been down to see the new space or if you have never been there, you are in for a treat. 

http://www.capeannmuseum.org

The collection includes a range of fine artists from Fitz Henry Lane to Contemporary Artists who have lived on, visited or were inspired by Cape Ann. It is a showcase for all things related to the area. The exhibits of Maritime and Fisheries, Granite Quarrying, and Furniture and Decorative Arts fill the bright space and are of interest to all age groups. 

And what could be better on a winter day ...

Art and Chowda at Passports located at 110 Main Street Gloucester - Enjoy!

The Cape Ann Museum is located at 27 Pleasant St, Gloucester, MA 01930 and their phone number is (978) 283-0455.

 

 

 

Dreaming of Polar Landscapes

Lisa Goren - Artist Talk at the NAA

Are you sorry to see summer go?  Not ready to dream of polar landscapes? Meet Lisa Goren on Sunday October  5, 2-4PM at the Newburyport Art Association.  She will talk about her amazing watercolors of frozen landscapes and whale bones and her Artist residency on a tall ship above the Arctic Circle Lisa has dreamed of Polar Landscapes since she was in her teens. Her first trip took her to Antarctica where she was inspired and captivated by the landscape. She has traveled to Iceland and Alaska to increase her understanding of the Polar Regions. Her watercolors show an unfamiliar landscape in a new light. By using vibrant colors and taking risks with different surfaces, she makes the viewer reevaluate their understanding of both these landscapes and their understanding of the potential of the medium. Her works creates questions about the nature of abstraction and our planet as many of her pieces are representations of unfamiliar terrains. http://lisagorenpaintings.com/gallery/landscapes    

Are you sorry to see summer go?  Not ready to dream of polar landscapes?

Meet Lisa Goren on Sunday October  5, 2-4PM at the Newburyport Art Association.  She will talk about her amazing watercolors of frozen landscapes and whale bones and her Artist residency on a tall ship above the Arctic Circle

Lisa has dreamed of Polar Landscapes since she was in her teens. Her first trip took her to Antarctica where she was inspired and captivated by the landscape. She has traveled to Iceland and Alaska to increase her understanding of the Polar Regions. Her watercolors show an unfamiliar landscape in a new light. By using vibrant colors and taking risks with different surfaces, she makes the viewer reevaluate their understanding of both these landscapes and their understanding of the potential of the medium.

Her works creates questions about the nature of abstraction and our planet as many of her pieces are representations of unfamiliar terrains.

http://lisagorenpaintings.com/gallery/landscapes