The Beautiful Brain explores representations of the brain in relation to contemporary neuroscience and the influence of neuroscientific methods on the visual arts, together with questions about the nature of consciousness and altered states.
Katharine Dowson’s inspiration comes from nature, medicine and the scientific world as she often collaborates with scientists as part of her artistic practice. These include researchers investigating genetics, dyslexia and Parkinson’s disease, producing intricate casts of her own heart and brain from MRI scans. Her sculptures are made in various media but especially transparent materials and glass, which she uses as a metaphor for a membrane, a fragile yet robust skin that allows light to pass through and reveal the hidden interior within. She discusses some of her work in The Beautiful Brain.
In Better People Through Chemistry? Philosopher Ron Wilburn questions why many psychedelic proponents feel a need to ground their claims for the evaluative significance of chemically induced mystical experience in prior metaphysical claims about higher realities endowed with special moral authority.
Danial Arabali is an Iranian-German artist and Engineer. In one series of his ‘NeuroArt’ paintings, he takes a look at the neuronal networks from a more artistic point of view rather than realistic representations of existing structures, while in another series he attempts to apply the modern color theory concepts of expressionist German artists to visualize the beauty of neuronal connections in a more abstract manner.
Lidija Kononenko is a student from the Royal Academy of Arts in London, whose practice investigates methodologies of scientific research into the human condition. Her artwork ‘31-3594’ won the Art of Neuroscience 2020 in which she explores the nervous system in an interactive way. The Pacemaker is an animation film exploring endurance training and emotional complexities in romantic relationships.
Hanif Janmohamed is an artist based in Vancouver, Canada. His practice is focused on the Geographies of the Mind. Brain Terrains is an ongoing body of work. A wandering, quixotic expedition through the common visual lexicons of our human and planetary bodies – a reframe of our inhabitation across scale through mash-ups of medical and satellite imaging.
Michelle Hunter’s Brain Series deconstructs familiar themes related to how our brains function and is meant to help the general public gain a greater appreciation for this organ we don’t usually “think” about. Using a painterly technique, the artist transforms everyday objects with a subtle unexpected surreal approach.
Artist and writer, Richard Bright, has addressed the relationship between art, science and consciousness for over 30 years. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally and was the recipient of the ‘Visions of Science’ Award, The Edge, Andrew Brownsward Gallery, University of Bath (Second Prize Winner). In Brainscapes he shows some works from his neuroscience inspired Limited Edition Prints.
Plus there are articles by Henry Taylor: Blindsight: a strange neurological condition that could help explain consciousness ; Harriet Dempsey-Jones: These artists paint with their feet – scans show how unique their brains are ; Sam Ereira: How the brain builds a sense of self from the people around us – new research ; Philip Goff: Consciousness: how can I experience things that aren’t ‘real’? ; and Wei Luan, Merja Joensuu & Ravi Kiran Kasula: Neuroscience in pictures: the best images of the year.