Wow! All I can say is that lecture last Friday by David Stork was phenomenal! I learned so much about the convergence of art and science to prove non-optical methods of master artists. He debunked Hockney’s theory that great painters from the 1430′s on “cheated” by tracing optical reflections in their paintings. I didn’t know how the lecture was going to go. I was happy that I made the 120 person cut by about 30 people in the double line. The room was filled and curators sat directly behind me saying, “This guy is a rock star.” They weren’t sure how it was going to go either. I was introduced to terminology that I never knew existed: occluding contour algorithms used in forensic technology, uniform reflectivity albedo effect, lambertian (diffused lighting), Bayesian integration of estimates (cast shadow probability). He was using complex math and physics equations, something that my 20 year old son, a civil engineer student, would understand and 3D computer graphic modules and vectoring that my 16 year old, math whiz student could get in order to explain the source of lighting. This same light source is also needed in Hockney’s theory and he disproved it by setting up the parameters that would be needed for optical reflection and proved that it couldn’t exist. With all this high-tech lingo, he basically displayed how the great artists had incredible talent to paint with precision and human error exactly what they saw in their mind’s eye. I loved it! He bridged art and science for understanding human artistic ability and put human imperfection as well as talent back into art.
This brings to mind some conversations my husband and I have been having with our son Jackson, who’s been asking us what college do we think would be best for him. We have to start that search second round. He asked about art school, since he is the more creative of our two boys. Peter and I both gave the same answer that although we were not opposed to art school, we felt it would give him only a technical education over a liberal arts one, which we both think offers a more broad foundation. He’s fortunate in that he can take courses at our alma mater right down the road and they will count for both high school and college credit. There were at least three articles related to college in the paper this weekend. However, when I read this article in the Washington Post this Sunday, I was reminded of the practical need for getting a well-rounded, broad based education and then going on to train in a specialized field of interest. It was also interesting to read that Dennis O’Neil, who was my professor for the time I attended the Corcoran School of Art (after receiving my undergraduate degree), is still teaching and he runs the Hand Print Workshop International. Good to know.
Just a follow up to a previous post on Patrick Dougherty, who is a magician when it comes to the artistic possibilities of the meager twig. I’m just now getting to catch up on all my magazines for inspiration and saw that Southern Accents profiled him in their May/June issue. Here’s one of his surreal creations, Na Hale ‘Eo Waiawi (20 x 30 x 20 feet) in Hawaii, made of strawberry guava and rose apple saplings.