Tag Archives: ann marie barry

Pablo Picasso: Time and Space Encapsulated

Wrong to Assume?

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” –Pablo Picasso

The human brain, the world’s ultimate meaning-seeker, is so curious that it often jumps to conclusions. In society, we often think negatively of assumptions because of their stereotypical nature. We say, do not assume that such and such has happened; rather, go to the source and hear the truth for yourself. To assume is to create falsified information – that is, if you are wrong. Continue reading

Salvador Dali: The Living Unconscious

The Mind’s Eye

The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.” – Salvador Dali

Helen Fukuhara, wife of a watercolor artist and daughter of an abstract painter, received her bachelor’s degree in music and speech arts. She later went on to study fine art, including ceramics, printmaking, and mixed media in Los Angeles. Eventually, she moved towards two-dimensional work. She is now 61 years old and continues to make art.

None of this sounds minutely interesting, as it almost appears to be a somewhat predictable storyline. Except that Helen is congenitally blind. Continue reading

We Are All Artists At Heart – And At Head

When you get sudden flashes of perception, it is just the brain working faster than usual. But you’ve been getting ready to know it for a long time, and when it comes, you feel you’ve known it always. – Katherine Anne Porter

Our brains are meaning-seeking machines. Somehow, through the constant flow of visual information, this organ can put together the bits and pieces of our surroundings to create what we call “meaning”. This function of understanding is undoubtedly the most crucial quality of what it means to be human, and thanks to modern science, we are now beginning to assemble a neurological construct that gives light to the inner workings of these most fabulous machines. Continue reading

Leonardo da Vinci: The Keen Eye


Curiosity is defined as “desire to know…interest leading to inquiry” (Curiosity, 2010). Many of us think of curiosity as an innate quality and it certainly appears as such. However, this inquisitive behavior is unlike mating or mimicry in that it lacks a fixed action pattern; in other words, there are no specific neural patterns designed to produce the behavior. This could be due to the fact that curiosity is an enormously intricate structure of the brain, and thus research has yet to conclude whether or not curiosity is a primary or secondary drive (Edelman, S., 1997).

Innate or not, curiosity is true to its definition: it is caused by desire. This desire comes from “a form of cognitively induced deprivation that arises from the perception of a gap in knowledge or understanding” (Loewenstein, G., 1994). Communication scholars may call this Cognitive Dissonance, as it is a motivational drive to better understand conflicting fractions of existing or non-existing knowledge (Cognitive Dissonance Theory, 2004); or Semiotics, the production and interpretation of meaning (Semiotic Theory, 2004). In any case, there is a common thread among these theories under which curiosity can be classified: spiritual emotion. And all humans share the emotions, inspired by the soul, which drive curiosity.

For scientists and artists alike, it is a duty to both pursue and inspire curiosity. Although these fields are classified as different disciplines, they both aim at seeking a unified truth (Zeki, S. 1999). Empirical research lends itself as the method of exploration for the sciences, while pencil and paper are the valued medium for the artist. But no matter the means, the results consistently harmonize – art reflects science, science reflects art, and both benefit from the other.

Recent advancements in neuroscience have lent a hand in this duet between art and science. Mainly attributed to the work of Semir Zeki, neuroaesthetics, the scientific study of the neural bases for the contemplation and creation of a work of art (Nalbantian, S., 2008), provides us with that innate quality that curiosity leaves us without. It provides us with answers for the seemingly superficial integration of science and art. Neuroaesthetics shows us that science and art rely on one another because they are one in the same.

One man knew this and used it to his advantage long before neuroaesthetics had even been born. Interestingly enough, his tremendous curiosity is what compelled him to achieve astonishing feats of both science and art. Leonardo da Vinci is the true father of neuroscience, contributing fascinating research to the field before it’s time (Anatomical Drawings, 2004), and establishing himself as the first to make a true and literal connection between the arts and the sciences. Continue reading