Artist’s Journal: NUMBER 85

THE DEFAULT NETWORK?

 

What goes on in abstract art is

the proclaiming of aesthetic principles…

It is in our own time that we have

become aware of pure aesthetic considerations.

Art never can be imitation.

Hans Hofmann

Well, it seems that abstract art is way beyond the opinion of some that a three-year-old or a chimpanzee with a paint brush can do it. According to leading brain scientists – it’s much more than that! 

FHV #4 – 2017

Art critic Carl Einstein said in 1926 that abstract art put an end to, “the laziness or fatigue of vision. Seeing again had become an active process.”

I’ve been reading Nobel Prize winner Eric R. Kandel’s Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures. In it, Kandel writes about Marcus Raichle’s 2001 discovery of the brain’s default network.

This network is active when we’re at rest and suppressed when we’re not. We’ve all experienced this when daydreaming.

This default network only kicks in when we find what we’re looking at to be very appealing

It’s at its most active when we have a high aesthetic experience such as looking at, well, abstract art. It seems, “a person’s taste in art is linked to his or her sense of identity.” 

When I paint, I sense or have a lot of experiences or insights that I cannot explain. That’s why I try to document or pin them down in these art journals. In the book, New York art critic Nancy Princenthal describes (2015) abstract art as:

To be abstracted is to be at some distance from the material world. It is a form of local exaltation but also, sometimes, of disorientation, even disturbance. Art at its most powerful can induce such a state, art without literal content perhaps most potently.

The activation of this default network is somehow related to our sense of self.  Scientists are also looking into why some viewers or, beholders as they are referred to in the book, feel a profound sense of spirituality. 

Combined with this default network is the Construal-Level Theory of Psychological Distance. The theory is based on thinking styles and psychological distance where as, things nearer to us, “such as images of people and objects that we experience as here and now, are seen as concrete. 

Things that are not, here and now seem more distant. These (abstract) things increase our creativity.

Pop Artist Roy Lichtenstein said, “I think we’re much smarter than we were. Everybody knows that abstract art can be art, and most people know that they may not like it, even if they understand there’s another purpose to it.” 

In my own experiences, intellectuals are more attracted to my work as are spiritual people. I’ve always wondered why.

I’ve also noticed that one or two pieces in a group of  work are always pointed out or, that these pieces want to be purchased by different people in different places and at different times. The only connection is the work itself.

And so it goes… So much more to learn and do!

Posted on: 20/01/2017, by : Ron Fortier
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