Eye of the beholder: The Art of Visual Perception at Embrace Arts in Leicester

By Jenni Davidson | 11 January 2012
A photo of two men who appear to be drawing in black paint on a transparent screen
Mariano Molina, untitled© Embrace Arts
Exhibition: The Art of Visual Perception, Embrace Arts, University of Leicester, until January 27 2012

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but it seems there's a whole lot more going on the brain than that when we view a piece of art, as a new exhibition at Embrace Arts in Leicester sets out to demonstrate.

The Art of Visual Perception is the result of a research project by the Argentine artist Mariano Molina and Leicester neuroscientist Professor Rodrigo Quian Quiroga.

Both are fascinated by optical illusions and visual perception, but approach it from different angles.

Rodrigo Quian Quiroga specialises in researching the neurological responses to visual stimuli. He is the man behind the "Jennifer Aniston" cell theory, which shows that different neurons in the brain respond to, for example, Jennifer Aniston or the Sydney Opera House.

He has also looked at the different brain reactions to viewing art in a gallery compared to viewing it on a computer screen, using eye tracking technology.

Molina's artworks from the project, which are displayed in the exhibition, incorporate theories of visual perception that are not commonly known to artists and the displays that accompany the paintings explain how these principles work.

The collaborative research project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council Beyond Text programme, which aims to bring together those who make or preserve works and those who study them to explore the theory of communication.

"Having Mariano in our lab was a unique opportunity to start bridging the gaps between science and arts," said Quiroga.

Professor Quian Quiroga will also be talking about his research in a one-off event at Embrace Arts on Thursday January 12 2012 at 6pm. For more information visit www.embracearts.co.uk.

Open Monday-Friday 10am-6pm. Admission free.

More pictures from the exhibition:

A picture of some people in red behind blue spattered paint
Mariano Molina, Out of Control© Embrace Arts
A black and white picture with people around the edge and a geometric pattern in the centre
Mariano Molina, The Beat of the Crowd© Embrace Arts
A picture of a man reaching through a screen of red paint splatter to pour black ink on an artwork
Mariano Molina, Pollock's Space© Embrace Arts
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