ART AND PERCEPTION

EXPLORING VISUAL COMMUNICATION IN THE CENTRAL VALLEY LANDSCAPE

 Art and Perception explores the relationship between art and the mind. This project started with research that examines how the brain processes visual information.  You can read it here. The artwork that is derived from this writing explores different styles in order to portray one idea. Every piece in this series visually represents California's Central Valley landscape in its own unique way. 

 
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Unnotice 

48x36 oil on canvas. Unnotice is the first painting in this series. The subject is a butterfly that is native to California's Central Valley. The approach to visually representing it is one of the most literal in this project. It is something that exists everywhere in the valley, but is small and often unobserved. I wanted to bring this butterfly to a level of attention that matches the presence that it has. I chose to do this by eliminating all possible environmental distractions and making the subject large and confrontational. 

In addition to its feature in Art and Perception, Unnotice was also in Fresno State's 2016 senior show and was published in the 2017 edition of Fresno State's MFA program journal, The San Joaquin Review. 

Millerton 1 

Two 24x24 canvases with oil paint. This piece focuses on portraying the essence of the area without creating a literal interpretation. Details like the motion of water and the shape of lichen that I observed in the area were reduced to pattern and simple shapes. Colors were picked out of the landscape and incorporated into the design. 

Millerton 2

48x36 oil on canvas. Millerton 2 (above) uses stylistic references from John Singer Sargent and Dennis Miller Bunker. I focused on their limited use of detail when creating landscapes. I also took this painting as an opportunity to experiment with color temperature. Rather than consisting portraying the exact shades on the scene, I alternated between using value and cold blues to show depth. 

Perception

This ceramic extension to Millerton 2 is based on an experience in Kiefer’s 2016-2017 show at the White Cube. It is the recreation of a playful child that disrupted the grim atmosphere of the exhibit. Given the focus that Kiefer places on revival from destruction, I felt that the distraction was oddly appropriate. This shows how viewers can participate in the meaning of an artwork by imposing their own interpretation. Whether or not the child enhances the experience or disrupts it relies upon the mindset of the viewer. In addition to its showing in the Dean's Gallery, this piece was also on display at the university's Senior Show and California Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Art at UC Davis. 

Millerton 3

24x18 oil on canvas. The horse painting is a study of John Singer Sargent's work. I chose this artist as a style reference because he is very good at the selective use of detail. In the context of the research, I believe this works because it complements the tendency of our brain to exclude information that we are not focused on. By excluding certain information from an image before the eye has a chance to sort out the information on its own, we can silently tell the viewer what we want him or her to see. 

In this painting, I wanted the viewer to focus on the horse’s face. Therefore, I spent a considerably longer amount of time working on the face in comparison to the surrounding environment, which is mostly made up of a thin layer of paint that has been smeared around by an old t-shirt.