Thought Forms

Issue 61 November 2020

Abstraction, the Ether, and the Fourth Dimension: Kandinsky, Mondrian, and Malevich in Context

Linda Dalrymple Henderson is the David Bruton, Jr. Centennial Professor in Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research and teaching focus on modern art in its broader cultural context, including ideas such as ‘the fourth dimension,’ the history of science and technology, and mystical and occult philosophies. In addition to over eighty journal articles and book and catalog essays, she is the author of ‘The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art’ (Princeton University Press, 1983; new, enlarged ed., MIT Press, 2013) and ‘Duchamp in Context: Science and Technology in the Large Glass and Related Works’ (Princeton, 1998).In 2014 Professor Henderson won a Lifetime Achievement Award, given by the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts. In 2018 she received a Leonardo Pioneer Award, given by the journal Leonardo on its 50th Anniversary.

WHAT GOD IS. (WITHOUT THE WOO WOO) and NEW EDEN

“Humans in their desire for answers to life’s most pressing questions have creatively reimagined and transformed God over the ages to fit their needs, values and beliefs. Despite all of the diversity and complexity ascribed to the thousands of variations of God, there seems to be room for one more. The true picture of God may not be supernatural, meta-physical or even metaphorical, but a creative force that may be as old as life in the Universe.”

Steve Sangapore is an American contemporary oil painter. Using vastly different stylistic approaches with various series’, his work can be described as an amalgamation of realism, surrealism and abstraction with thematic focuses on the human condition.

Ritual forms and transformations

Kate Southworth makes paintings, drawings, prints and rituals as a way of understanding the transformative energies and unseen patterns of the psyche. Her work experiments with a ‘scattered form’ in which several visible and invisible fragments co-exist. Recent work maps her journeys into the unconscious mind revealing geometric and net-like forms. She has a particular interested in how processes of transformation emerge in the symbolic sphere: the hexagrams of the i-ching, alchemy, yoga traditions, calendric practices, and myths.

Topology and the Visualization of Space

Artist and author, Tony Robbin, works with painting, sculpture and computer visualizations. He is a pioneer in the computer visualization of four-dimensional geometry. With his paintings and innovative computer visualizations of hyperspace, he continues to investigate different models of the fourth dimension and how these are applied in art and physics.

Flesh and the Angels

A meditation on creativity in life, art and psychotherapy, its expression as a phenomenology of bursting, and the challenge of keeping going, with John Coltrane, Rainer Maria Rilke and Maurice Merleau-Ponty as companions.

Derek Bean is a practising Existential-Phenomenological Psychotherapist and registered member of the UK Council for Psychotherapy.

CIRCLINGS

CIRCLINGS shows examples of a new book of drawings by Garry Kennard, which were prompted by the final lines of the last canto of Dante’s Divine Comedy. These words describe the vision that Dante experiences at end of his journey through hell, purgatory and paradise. They tell of his witnessing the creative power at the heart of creation. In this he sees a great circling of reflected spheres and rainbows and, somehow, the human image within it all. The article includes the preface by Paul Broks, clinical neuropsychologist-turned-writer.

Projecting desires and fears

Anna Sofie Jespersen is a Danish artist based in London who produces emotive figurative works. Anna’s powerful drawings are laden with feeling. Her large scale works have a particularly strong impact. She trained at the Chelsea College of Art and has won awards for both drawing and painting, including second prize in the 2016 Jerwood Drawing Prize for her work ‘Sid in Bathtub’. She was shortlisted for the 2017 Bloomberg New Contemporaries.

Science as we know it can’t explain consciousness – but a revolution is coming

Philip Goff is Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Durham University. His research focuses on how to integrate consciousness into our scientific worldview. His first academic book, ‘Consciousness and Fundamental Reality’ (Oxford University Press), was published in 2017 and his first book aimed at a general audience, ‘Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness’ (Rider in UK, Pantheon in US), was published in2019.

“I argue that the traditional approaches of materialism (consciousness can be explained in terms of physical processes in the brain) and dualism (consciousness is separate from the body and brain) face insuperable difficulties. On the basis of this I defend a form of panpsychism, the view that consciousness is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of the physical world. It sounds a bit crazy, but I try to show that it avoids the difficulties faced by its rivals.”

GPT-3: new AI can write like a human but don’t mistake that for thinking – neuroscientist

Guillaume Thierry is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Bangor University.

“I am passionate about the human mind and how it makes sense of the world around us. My research is devoted to understanding how we form concepts, consciously or unconsciously, how we manipulate them, through language or nonverbally, how we learn, remember, forget, and imagine. In my applied work, I strive to inspire individuals to attain higher state of awareness of the world and of themselves. I share real stories and construct fictional ones to entice the imagination of others and invite everyone along on the path to higher levels of insight, understanding, and joy.”

What is nothing? Martin Rees Q&A

Lord Martin Rees is Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge. He holds the honorary title of Astronomer Royal. Lord Rees is co-founder of the Centre for the Study of the Existential Risk, an early stage initiative which brings together a scientist, philosopher and software entrepreneur.

Vessels

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 ‘Vessels’ he shows some recent work from the series.