Exploring the Junction Between Neuroscience and Art

Art has been described as a quirk of human existence, a luxury afforded by our success. Among those who suspect that art played a more crucial role in our history is artist Paul Franklin Smith; a new website featuring his work explores this theme.
By: Neuronico: Art & Neuroscience
 
MONTEREY, Calif. - Aug. 29, 2013 - PRLog -- “Art is a physical expression of thought, but I believe more importantly, it provokes thinking about thinking” says Paul Franklin Smith. “Philosophers develop specialized vocabularies to discuss the strengths and biases of certain patterns of thought; art can communicate the same things in a very direct, if sometimes less quantitative, way. Art creates illusions; that fact alone is part of the utility of art. It makes us aware of how easily our sensory systems can be beguiled. Experiencing art is the practice of witnessing an illusion and the thoughts and emotions it evokes; it’s also about examining how and why the illusion was produced, and why it brought forth the feelings it did.”

Many aspects of human life once considered outside the realm of science are now coming into focus with recent advances in genetics research and neuroscience. Neuroscience is uncovering with increasing detail the biology which supports human behaviors, and genetics provides clues as to when in our history we may have developed those capabilities. "I feel as though the science I study increases my sense of wonder and inspires my creative efforts" says Paul. "Most of the image compositions I create don't have neurons or brain images in them, but when I make a sky bright yellow and red, or create purple trees, or mirrored symmetries, it's an exercise in playing with the sensations created and resulting perceptions built by my mind and in the people who view and live with my art."

Paul believes that visual art and music were essential in shaping modern human life; they helped us survive by developing our capacity to share information within and across generations: “Our ancestors who were able to participate in the sharing of information through color, shape, symbols, allusion, rhythm, and pitch were better able to survive. Humans don't have thick hides, long claws, or sharp teeth to protect us; we excel at sharing and using information to avoid danger. Written and spoken language depends on and enhances these skills, and so does art.”

"As pervasive as music and visual art are in human culture both currently and historically, the codevelopment of music with spoken language, and visual art with written language seems to make sense and be consistent with both archaeological evidence and recent genetic research" states Paul.

“Art is an alternate form of communication, which at its best says something that can’t be put into words. When I look at an image and feel something profound that I can’t quite put into words, I know I’m onto something. If I can live with that image for days or weeks and still feel some of that original wonder, I think perhaps somebody else might enjoy it too. If that delusion lasts through the process required to make it available in a variety of formats on the website (http://SEE.neuronico.net)... well… that's what gets it into the public eye. Public feedback and personal stories are what keep me going.”

Neuronico Mind & Vision (http://SEE.neuronico.net) is the first website to launch in a series exploring the junction between neuroscience and culture. It features the visual art and writing of Paul Franklin Smith, and offers fine art prints and posters for purchase.
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Page Updated Last on: Aug 30, 2013
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