Come test your brain at the Fourth Street Festival this weekend

Sometimes I just have to wrestle with a print.  Each layer, each carving, we glare at each other, the print and I.  This month I have done battle with my love of aerial perspectives in a print titled March of the Cumulus.

Elizabeth Busey, March of the Cumulus, Linoleum Reduction Print, 2011.

I was inspired to create this print on an airplane trip in March.  Over some parched southwestern land, I noticed that the ponds I was perceiving were really cloud shadows.  When I showed my husband my pencil sketches, he thought I was going another print about lakes and topography as well.  I realized that this print would be challenging because in it, your eye and your brain were really doing battle.  Why was this?

New perspectives courtesy of Southwest Airlines.

I searched on-line for other examples of clouds and shadows, and was pleased to discover that there is a cognitive science explanation for this phenomenon.  Kim Kastens wrote an article about “Projective Spatial Concept” in the blog Earth and Mind: the Blog, where understanding shadows is an important component.  In using our projective spatial concept, our brains are able to convince ourselves that we are seeing cloud shadows, not funny lakes in the desert.  This is an ability that children develop over time, but may still be a challenge for some adults.  I just love when art and science intersect.

I will have more opportunities to test this concept when I show this print and others at the Fourth Street Festival of Arts and Crafts here in Bloomington, IN on Saturday, September 3rd and Sunday, September 4th.  It is a free show with many talented artists and artisans, set in an idyllic college town.  If you are in the area, please come by my booth and prepare to challenge your projective spatial concept.


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