As most of you know, I work as a scientist during the day and art is more of a personal passion. Last October, I found a new job and this transition gave me a rare opportunity of taking a week off while my kids were in school (as opposed to a typical family vacation). I stayed in the city and took advantage of the beautiful early fall weather. I spent days walking around and reading in Central Park, spent a day at a spa and, most importantly, went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
From portraits to still lifes
At the Met, there was an exhibition of European paintings ranging from the 17th to 19th century. The paintings were presented in chronological order, tracking the changes in styles and subjects. While the vast majority of Renaissance paintings were centered around scenes from the Bible, during this (relatively long) period of time, the painters began to focus on real life portraiture. During the 17th century, the artists started painting extravagant portraits of their patrons, who were wealthy enough to afford such a luxury. Later, the artists began to focus more on the commoners, eventually progressing to landscapes and still lifes. These subjects wouldn’t have even been considered by their predecessors.
Since then, portraits, landscapes and and still lifes have become the main categories of art. Of course, we all know that during the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci had dissected and sketched out human cadavers, leading to the infamous drawing of the Vitruvian Man among others. But for the most part, people drew what they saw on the surface.
Taking it a step further
Years ago, I saw black and white pictures of nude women’s bodies as landscapes with a tiny person walking over their curves as if they were hills. While provocative, it was tastefully made and beautiful. But what if we go even deeper and look at our own internal landscapes? In particular brain cells, which are responsible for our sense of “self”.
Many people associate images of brain cells (neurons) with trees. They grow and form many branches which, just as the trees’ leaves collect light energy, collect sensory signals from all parts of our bodies. They allow us to sense our environment, allow us to move, process information, devise complex mathematical equations, make art, play musical instruments, and pretty much anything else you can think of. They make us who we are.
Left: “Sunrise”, 18″ x 24″, framed
Right: “Lost in Manhattan”, 13″ x 13″, stretched canvas (ready to hang)
Other images show dense networks of cells connected by axons carrying electric signals, akin to subway stops connected by train tracks. Information travels in all directions, but in the end comes to its ultimate destination, often translating our senses into what we perceive as feelings.
The key here is that while these images might seem abstract to an untrained eye, they accurately represent the wonders of the natural world. The natural world we have inside our brains.
While a classical landscape painting can be beautiful and oftentimes peaceful, it is quite accessible for anyone to interpret. But what if only you knew the meaning behind a landscape that exists within each one of us?
Wouldn’t that help you feel smarter and more confident?
Art is my emotional outlet and my oasis. I use art to express my feelings and work through life issues. Come join me on this journey of letting go of control and letting the creative process take over. You will get access to all of the behind the scenes footage and see the major breakthroughs that translate into new artwork.
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