University of Tasmania
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Perception and representation : the visual cortex and landscape art, an investigation

posted on 2023-05-26, 18:49 authored by Henskens, AS
This project investigates artistic perception and representation of landscape as a means to determine how we construct a concept of what is real. It finds that the visual cortex perceives data in the form of light and that this data is translated by processes throughout the brain to arrive at a concept of reality. It posits these processes as being further influenced by the prevailing culture and technology. The conceptual base is grounded in a combination of present day neuro-physiological studies of the visual cortex, quantum physics and digital technology. Supporting theoretical material by physicists Paul Davies, Brian Green and various academic papers offer the view that what we experience as reality is determined by what filters through our sensory systems, and that the world is not what we take it to be as revealed by these sensory systems alone. The project takes the position that we tend to think of the world outside the self in terms of classical landscape; terms which are chiefly relevant to a different mindset and earlier stage of industrialised society. These ideas drive the project and are contextualised through the artworks of Georges Seurat, Bridget Riley, Geoff Parr, David Hockney, and Leigh Hobba, who explore self and the world in highly individual ways with a unique attitude to vision. Selected academic writings by Karl Popper, C.H.Waddington and StevenJohnson add strength to questioning orthodox realities and display certain parallels within the disciplines as to the value of apparent paradoxes, (see bibliography). Through a range of studio works the project pursued a visual exploration of landscape that reflects how we move through the world, scanning as we go, and building up a composite image from selected fragments. The imagery is based on the structure and action of the visual cortex reacting to natural forms. The processes used imitate viewing processes such as cellular edge-recognition, conveyed, for example, by laying down alternate sharp edges through spray-painting. The outcome is a series of works presented for exhibition on canvas, MDF board, paper and video, which encompass developments encountered in the course of the investigation. These artworks are presented in the thesis exhibition as perceptions of reality still in the process of resolution. The focus on the visual cortex as instrumental in apprehension presents a view of society as being inescapably animal in origin, evolutionary in its physical being, superficially overlaid by a drive to socialisation, and subject to modification.


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Copyright 2008 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). DVDs and CD-ROMs contain images of works. Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2008. Includes bibliographical references

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