Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Where Art meets Science

Woven Faces: Mapping the Emotional Brain
A talk with Lia Cook and Dr. Greg Siegle
Thursday, May 5, 6pm
$10 General suggested donation 
$5   Student suggested donation

Lia Cook and Dr. Siegle will discuss human brain mapping and the artist’s new body of work which focuses on the brain's response to memory and tactile and emotional experience.

Tracts Past
Lia Cook is a internationally recognized fiber artist. She lives and work in Berkeley, CA. A Professor of Art at California College of Arts, Oakland, CA for the past 35 years, Lia's work is still evolving and breaking new ground. 
Using self-portraiture as a visual base, Lia’s current practice incorporates concepts of cloth, touch, and memory. The sources of many of Cook’s images are simple snapshot cameras from the 1940s and 1950s, which link to today’s imaging technology in the same way that computers have connected to the manually operated Jacquard weaving looms of the 19th century. The intimacy of the family snapshot is a starting point for Cook’s woven images. These informal family photos, offer intimate information and shared history. On closer inspection, as we seem to be face-to-face with her portraits, the subject dissolves into a pointillist field of individual threads, allowing our senses to go beyond the threshold of recognition. With the use of her digital jacquard loom, pixels become thread as she weaves images and creates monumental works that blur distinctions between computer technology, weaving, painting, and photography. 
Face Maps

In the spring of 2010, Cook participated in a residency at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine called TREND (Transdisciplinary Research in Emotion, Neuroscience and Development). Working in collaboration with Greg Siegle—a PhD professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh—together they collected computer data in real time and mapped the human brain at work in response to her woven faces as stimuli. About the process she commented, “We tried many different approaches using Electroencephalography (EEG), Pupil Studies, EyeTracking and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). The subjects did a variety of tasks. In one example they compared the actual woven image with a photograph of the woven image with the original tapestry itself. We could see different responses in the brain in visual images and found some evidence of my original idea that the woven image evoked a different kind and/or intensity of emotional response.” Cook’s solo exhibition, presented as part of Bridge 11 —on view now— explores her large-scale woven images of human faces and introduces several works from a new body of work based on her recent art-neuroscience collaboration.

A subject from the study touching Lia's work while connected to an EEG machine

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thanks Handmade Arcade!

Handmade Arcade was amazing this year! I was skeptical about the new venue - Pittsburgh's Convention Center - but it was a really positive move. There was more space than ever to shmooze the vendors with out fearing you may be crushed to death. The space was well filled and well organized with a separate space for demo's and hands-on activities such as our own paper chopstick project, printing a giant image of a Jackalope with A.I.R., and bunny pom-poms with Alicia Kachmar. I loved seeing some new faces and seeing new product from old faces. We can't for the next one.

Bravo to the organizers, it's not easy putting on an event of any size, and this one was big!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Exhibition is finally here!

This new exhibition is REALLY awesome. There is a lot to look at, so make sure you have ample time when you visit. 

Mariko Kusumoto's metal work is particularly intricate with dozens of small pieces in each work. Some of the piece even have small cranks and levers that make then move or even play music. Unfortunately not on their own, but there are great animations on our website so that you can see the work in action!

Lia Cook is developing a whole new direction in her work that involves a very scientific process. As part of her exhibition there is an installation component in which the artist invites you to help with her new research. Before entering the installation viewers are given a packet of info telling them which side to enter and asking them to fill out some questions, such as " Write one word that describes the emotion you feel in response to the piece" . After the exhibition closes the visitor data gathered will be analyzed and participants who opt in will receive the results. 

Anne Drew Potters 16-figure installation commands the front of the gallery space with the expressive and gestural manner of the individual pieces. 

Hope you all have an opportunity to come see the show, but if not you can see it all on our website!