Sunday, April 03, 2011


The brain is an incredible thing. It takes all this information that the optic nerve sends it and tries to make some sense of it all. Most of the time it does a great job. Other times it tries too hard to make the lights and darks into an understandable image. I know darn well that's not a deer over there in the shadows at dusk, but just a plum tree next to the fence. My brain, however, wants me to believe that trunk and the large branch resting on the fence is a deer. So what does your brain tell you is pictured above? Two curving lines like that are pretty universally recognized a bird in flight. I've used it myself in my quilting.

What about now? Can you see a ram's head possibly, looking head-on at the face with the curved lines its horns curling back?

In fact, the curves represent nose,eyebrows and eyes in the face of this ceramic piece dating around 3800 BC and found in Cyprus. It doesn't take much of a suggestion for the brain to fill in the gaps and recognize an object or image. Certain shapes, lines, images tend to be universal.

I've read that an artist should edit, not try to tell every bit of the story, not include every detail, to leave something to the viewer's imagination, let the viewer's brain fill in the gaps and make sense of what's before it. A suggestion is perhaps all it needs to get the point. And if that brain sees a deer rather than a tree along a fence, who's to say that's a bad thing?

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